Consider the difference between a horse and "a horse" one is a subject of natural science, the other of linguistic study. The very identity of linguistics as a discipline therefore would seem to depend on some kind of use-mention distinction. Explicating this distinction, and relatedly providing a semantics for quotation marks, is the aim of my paper.
Quotation marks, I claim, serve to select from the multiple ostensions that are produced whenever any expression is uttered; they act to constrain pragmatic ambiguity or indeterminacy. My argument proceeds by showing that the proffered account fares better than its rivals the Name, Description, Demonstrative [Paratactic], and Identity Theories. Along the way I shall need to explain and emphasize that quoting is not simply the same thing as mentioning. Quoting, but not mentioning, relies on the use of conventional devices.
Following up on this article there is an exchange between Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore and myself (Mind, October 1999, pp. 741-54).