Question: is it just me, or is N. Goodman's writing style kind of infuriating? Also: I'm rereading Ways of Worldmaking and am gratified to learn that my initial impression of "Some Questions Concerning Quotation" (namely, that it's mostly batshit insane) remain. Of coures it's not as if I've learned anything more than what my own naïve intuitions afford me since I read it the first time, but I guess it's good to see that I haven't learned anything despite myself? Regardless of the defensibility of my general impression of the essay (which I guess I could expand on IF ANYONE CARES) there seem to be two bits that are just mistakes. And are probably OLD NEWS, but meh.
One: Goodman says that "the twentieth letter of the alphabet" "both denotes and contains but surely does not quote the letter described", and that "we thus need to add some such requirement for direct quotation as this: (c) replacement of the denoted and contained expression by any other of the language results in an expression that denotes the replacing expression". But this doesn't make sense for one of two reasons. One: "the twentieth letter of the alphabet" wasn't introduced as a candidate for the direct quotation of the letter "t", but for its indirect quotation, so adding a proviso for direct quotation doesn't really address the issue. Or, two, if we ignore that and instead note that the t-containing expression was meant to be analogous to what "table term" is for tables, except for letters (where Goodman thinks that "table term" is a valid way of (indirectly) quoting "table"), we can easily observe that one can go "table term" -> "term term" -> "problem problem". Of course the idea that you can quote, directly or indirectly, a word or letter at all is, for at least one meaning of "quote" on which Goodman seems to be equivocating, ridiculous.
Two: Goodman approvingly refers to Alonzo Church's having insisted that the proper translation into English of "Jean a dit 'Les triangles ont trois bords'" is "John said 'Les triangles ont trois bords'". But Jean would probably disagree? (This is as opposed to "Jean said 'Triangles have three sides'". Surely the missing possibility is the correct one? Or at least worthy of acknowledgment.)