Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 11:50:24 -0400
From: Ron Butters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Your mail
Quang cites the contrasts
to argue against the analysis in which
God is the underlying subject of such
I have never undestood this argument. It seems to me that "Damn!" is a
shortening of "Damn it!" which in turn has the "underlying" structure "May
God Damn it!" Who else would do the damning but God? How can anything other
than God be the LOGICAL subject of "damn" (or "bless")? The fact that "*God
damn himself!" is unacceptable to most people is irrelevant, since "May God
damn himself!" is acceptable--the constraint is on the "deletion" of "May"
before the reflexive.
By the same token, imagining oneself
in Heaven in the presence of the sneezing
Lord. Does one say
or, more likely
If my intuitions are correct, God cannot
be the subject of "bless" . . .
It's clearly an empirical question.
Since this has never happened to me (or to anyone else who is signed up for
ads-l) I'm not sure that it is relevant. I'm even less sure how this thought
experiment is an "empirical" question. Nevertheless, I don't see why you
couldn't say either one: "God bless you!" or maybe "Bless yourself, God."
(The use of reflexives as a test for "subjecthood" is a bit murky, anyway,
e.g., one can say either, "I aimed the gun at myself" or "I aimed the gun at