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Summary The logical form of a sentence (or class of sentences) is the way the sentence is constructed out of a stock of basic vocabulary items, including a stock of distinguished logical constants (such as the familiar sentential connectives and quantifiers). A sentence's logical form determines its formal inferential relations to other sentences, and it is often thought to be important for accounting for the way the meaning of the sentence is determined by the meanings of its parts. The logical form of a sentence is not always apparent from its surface form, and there is a tradition of thinking of the logical form of a sentence as reflecting the structure of the extra-linguistic fact or state of affairs to which it corresponds. Questions about the "true" or "underlying" logical forms of some relevant class of sentences are often taken to be important for deciding issues in metaphysics and (especially) ontology. The notion of logical form is sometimes applied to propositions or mental state contents, as well as to sentences.
Key works Classic works include Wittgenstein 1922Russell 1905, Geach 1980Evans 1976 and May 1985. Cargile 1979 contains an oft-overlooked but very good discussion of some of the philosophical difficulties about logical form. Parsons 1990, building on the proposal in Davidson 1967, has been extremely influential in stimulating recent work on logical form. Preyer & Peter 2002 is a valuable recent collection.
Introductions The introductory logic textbook Barwise & Etchemendy 1999 pays special attention to the relationship between logical form and meaning.
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Siblings:History/traditions: Logical Form
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  1. Isaac Abravanel (1993). Ateret Zekenim Tsurot Ha-Yesodot. Hotsa at Tsur-Ot.
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  2. Andrea (2013). Iacona. Theoria 28 (3):439-457.
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  3. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (2011). Reasoning Dynamically About What One Says. Synthese 183 (S1):5-31.
    ’s glue logic for computing logical form dynamic. This allows us to model a dialogue agent’s understanding of what the update of the semantic representation of the dialogue would be after his next contribution, including the effects of the rhetorical moves that he is contemplating performing next. This is a pre-requisite for developing a model of how agents reason about what to say next. We make the glue logic dynamic by using a dynamic public announcement logic ( pal ). We (...)
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  4. Axel Arturo Barceló Aspeitia (2011). Sub-Sentential Logical Form. On Robert J. Stainton's "Words and Thoughts". Critica 43 (129):53-63.
    Stainton argues that since sub-sentential speech acts lack the proper syntactic structure to have logical form, it is not from them that subsententially propositions conveyed derive their logical form, in this brief comment, I develop an argument for the claim that sub-sentential speech acts not only do have the proper syntactic structure, but that according to Stainton's own general pragmatic account of sub-sentential speech, they also satisfy all the criteria put forward by him to be the primary bearers of logical (...)
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  5. Emmon Bach & Barbara H. Partee (1980). Anaphora and Semantic Structure. In Barbara H. Partee (ed.), Compositionality in Formal Semantics - Selected Papers by Barbara H. Partee. Blackwell 122--152.
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  6. J. Bacon (1986). LYCAN, W. G.: "Logical Form in Natural Language". Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64:364.
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  7. John Bacon (1979). The Logical Form of Perception Sentences. Synthese 41 (2):271 - 308.
    The perceptual logic of j hintikka and r thomason is imbedded in a more general framework of quantification over individual-concepts. two intensional predicates for physical individuation and perceptual individuation are required in place of thomason's two variable-sorts. objectual perception of x by s is then definable as "for some y there is a perceptually individuated object z, in fact identical with x, such that s perceives that y is z.".
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  8. Tista Bagchi, Quantification, Negation, and Focus: Challenges at the Conceptual-Intentional Semantic Interface.
    Quantification, Negation, and Focus: Challenges at the Conceptual-Intentional Semantic Interface Tista Bagchi National Institute of Science, Technology, and Development Studies (NISTADS) and the University of Delhi Since the proposal of Logical Form (LF) was put forward by Robert May in his 1977 MIT doctoral dissertation and was subsequently adopted into the overall architecture of language as conceived under Government-Binding Theory (Chomsky 1981), there has been a steady research effort to determine the nature of LF in language in light of structurally (...)
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  9. Yehoshua Bar-Hillel (1951). Comments on Logical Form. Philosophical Studies 2 (2):26 - 29.
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  10. Jonathan Barnes (1990). Logical Form and Logical Matter. Olschki.
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  11. Tomás Barrero (2013). Acción y construcción lógica. Critica 45 (133):3-26.
    By considering Davidson’s analysis of prepositions as defining individual events predicates, I argue against his semantics for action sentences and stress some logico-linguistic puzzles concerning both the interpretive pretension and the referential indifference of this proposal. Inspired by Evans as well as by Grice, I advance another interpretive semantics for those cases which does not take as assumption the individual character of events and argue for a constructivist approach to events in action discourse.
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  12. Christian Bassac (2010). Philosophy, Linguistics and Semantic Interpretation. In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Philosophy of Language and Linguistics. Ontos Verlag 17.
  13. Daniel Frederick Bayer (1977). Second Order Logic and Logical Form. Dissertation, The Rockefeller University
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  14. S. Beck (1988). Lewis, Loar and the Logical Form of Attitude Ascriptions. South African Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):100-104.
    In this article, the attempts by David Lewis and Brian Loar to make perspicuous the logical form of sentences ascribing propositional attitudes to individuals are set out and criticized. Both work within the assumption of the truth of 'type' physicalism, and require that logically perspicuous attitude ascriptions be compatible with the demands of such a doctrine. It is argued that neither carry out this task successfully - Lewis's perspicuous ascriptions have counter-intuitive implications, while Loar's avoidance of these undermines type physicalism (...)
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  15. Jill Beckman (ed.) (1997). Proceedings of NELS 26. GLSA, UMass Amhert.
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  16. Michael Beebe (1976). The Basis of Semantic Structure. Dialogue 15 (4):624-641.
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  17. Rod Bertolet (1991). Elementary Prepositions, Independence, and Pictures. Journal of Philosophical Research 16:53-61.
    Wittgenstein initially endorsed but then abandoned, by the time of “Some Remarks on Logical Form”, the view that elementary propositions are logically independent. In this paper it is argued that the doctrine of logical independence is in fact inconsistent with the intuitions and examples that motivated the picture theory of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. This leaves the question of whether the logical independence of elementary propositions can be reconciled with the theory itself; the paper explores some interpretations of the early Wittgenstein (...)
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  18. Manuel Bremer (2014). Restall and Beall on Logical Pluralism: A Critique. Erkenntnis 79 (2):293-299.
    With their book Logical Pluralism, Jc Beall and Greg Restall have elaborated on their previous statements on logical pluralism. Their view of logical pluralism is centred on ways of understanding logical consequence. The essay tries to come to grips with their doctrine of logical pluralism by highlighting some points that might be made clearer, and questioning the force of some of Beall’s and Restall’s central arguments. In that connection seven problems for their approach are put forth: (1) The Informal Common (...)
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  19. Georg Brun (2012). Adequate Formalization and de Morgan's Argument. Grazer Philosophische Studien 85 (1):325-335.
    Lampert and Baumgartner (2010) critically discuss accounts of adequate formalization focusing on my analysis in (Brun 2004). There, I investigated three types of criteria of adequacy (matching truth conditions or inferential role, corresponding syntactical surface and systematicity) and argued that they ultimately call for a procedure of formalization. Although Lampert and Baumgartner have a point about matching truth conditions, their arguments target a truncated version of my account. They ignore all aspects of systematicity which make their counter-example unconvincing.
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  20. Georg Brun (2008). Formalization and the Objects of Logic. Erkenntnis 69 (1):1 - 30.
    There is a long-standing debate whether propositions, sentences, statements or utterances provide an answer to the question of what objects logical formulas stand for. Based on the traditional understanding of logic as a science of valid arguments, this question is firstly framed more exactly, making explicit that it calls not only for identifying some class of objects, but also for explaining their relationship to ordinary language utterances. It is then argued that there are strong arguments against the proposals commonly put (...)
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  21. Howard Burdick (1982). A Logical Form for the Propositional Attitudes. Synthese 52 (2):185 - 230.
    The author puts forth an approach to propositional attitude contexts based upon the view that one does not have beliefs of ordinary extensional entitiessimpliciter. Rather, one has beliefs of such entities as presented in various manners. Roughly, these are treated as beliefs of ordered pairs — the first member of which is the ordinary extensional entity and the second member of which is a predicate that it satisfies. Such an approach has no difficulties with problems involving identity, such as of (...)
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  22. F. K. C. (1982). Events, Reference, and Logical Form. Review of Metaphysics 36 (1):178-180.
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  23. Christopher Campbell (2014). Categorial Indeterminacy, Generality and Logical Form in Wittgenstein's Tractatus. European Journal of Philosophy 22 (1):138-158.
    Many commentators have attempted to say, more clearly than Wittgenstein did in his Tractatus logico-philosophicus, what sort of things the ‘simple objects’ spoken of in that book are. A minority approach, but in my view the correct one, is to reject all such attempts as misplaced. The Tractarian notion of an object is categorially indeterminate: in contrast with both Frege's and Russell's practice, it is not the logician's task to give a specific categorial account of the internal structure of elementary (...)
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  24. James Cargile (2010). Logical Form. In T. J. Smiley, Jonathan Lear & Alex Oliver (eds.), The Force of Argument: Essays in Honor of Timothy Smiley. Routledge
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  25. James Cargile (1979). Paradoxes, a Study in Form and Predication. Cambridge University Press.
    These are not just tricks or puzzles, but are intimately connected with some of the liveliest and most basic philosophical disputes about logical form, ...
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  26. James Cargile (1970). IV. Davidson's Notion of Logical Form. Inquiry 13 (1-4):129-139.
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  27. Greg N. Carlson (1983). Logical Form: Types of Evidence. [REVIEW] Linguistics and Philosophy 6 (3):295 - 317.
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  28. Robyn Carston, Explicature and Semantics.
    A standard view of the semantics of natural language sentences or utterances is that a sentence has a particular logical structure and is assigned truth-conditional content on the basis of that structure. Such a semantics is assumed to be able to capture the logical properties of sentences, including necessary truth, contradiction and valid inference; our knowledge of these properties is taken to be part of our semantic competence as native speakers of the language. The following examples pose a problem for (...)
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  29. Lucas Champollion (2016). Overt Distributivity in Algebraic Event Semantics. Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (16):1-65.
    This is the second in a pair of papers that aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the semantic phenomenon of distributivity in natural language. This paper describes and explains observable cross-linguistic differences in overt distributive items in the framework of Neo-Davidsonian algebraic event semantics. The previous paper, Champollion 2016, postulated two covert distributivity operators, D and Part, in the grammar, even though the semantic effects of D can be subsumed under the workings of Part. This paper motivates the split (...)
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  30. Lucas Champollion (2016). Covert Distributivity in Algebraic Event Semantics. Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (15):1-66.
    This is the first in a pair of papers that aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of the semantic phenomenon of distributivity in natural language. This paper investigates and formalizes different sources of covert distributivity. Apart from lexical distributivity effects, which are modeled by meaning postulates, phrasal distributivity is captured via two covert operators: (i) a D operator distributing over atoms only (Link 1987), and (ii) a cover-based Part operator, which can also distribute over non-atomic pluralities under contextual licensing (Schwarzschild (...)
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  31. O. Chateaubriand (2008). Symbolism and Logical Form: Response to Javier Legris. Manuscrito 31 (1):217-221.
    Javier Legris examines my views on symbolism and logical form in relation to two important distinctions emphasized by Jean van Heijenoort—the distinction between logic as calculus and logic as universal language, and the distinction between absolutism and relativism in logic. I generally agree with his considerations and focus my response on some relevant aspects of classical logic.Javier Legris examina minhas considerações sobre simbolismo e forma lógica em relação à duas distinções enfatizadas por Jean van Heijenoort: a distinção entre lógica como (...)
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  32. O. Chateaubriand (2008). Logical Forms and Logical Form: Response to John Corcoran. Manuscrito 31 (1):267-277.
    In his paper John Corcoran examines in detail many issues relating to logical form, and raises some questions about my formulations. In my response I emphasize two main distinctions that may clear up some of the issues. One is the distinction between logical forms, in the sense of logical properties of an abstract character, and logical form, in the sense in which we speak of the logical form of a sentence, or of a proposition. Another is the distinction, emphasized by (...)
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  33. Oswaldo Chateaubriand (2000). Logical Forms. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2000:161-182.
    The standard view of logical form is that logical forms are synthetic structures which are the forms of sentences and of other linguistic entities. This is often associated with a more general linguistic view of logic which is articulated in different ways by various authors. This paper contains a critical discussion of such linguistic approaches to logical form, with special emphasis on Quine’s formulation of a logical grammar in Philosophy of Logic. An account of logical forms as higher-order properties, which (...)
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  34. Nick Chater (2002). Is LF Really a Linguistic Level? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):680-680.
    Carruthers’ argument depends on viewing logical form as a linguistic level. But logical form is typically viewed as underpinning general purpose inference, and hence as having no particular connection to language processing. If logical form is tied directly to language, two problems arise: a logical problem concerning language acquisition and the empirical problem that aphasics appear capable of cross-modular reasoning.
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  35. Lenny Clapp & Robert J. Stainton (2002). `Obviously Propositions Are Nothing': Russell and the Logical Form of Belief Reports. In Georg Peter & Gerhard Preyer (eds.), Logical Form and Language. Oxford University Press 409--420.
  36. D. S. Clarke (1975). The Logical Form of Imperatives. Philosophia 5 (4):417-427.
    This paper attempts to outline the logical structure of imperatives. It criticizes the prevailing view that this structure is isomorphic with that for indicatives. For "mixed" imperatives with constituents in both indicative and imperative moods (e.G., Conditional imperatives with indicative antecedents) there are features unique to imperatives. These features are specified, And consequences of them are traced. Finally, Formation rules for imperatives are stated.
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  37. Luciano Codato (2008). Judgment, Extension, Logical Form. In Kant-Gesellschaft E. V. Walter de Gruyter (ed.), Law and Peace in Kant’s Philosophy / Recht und Frieden in der Philosophie Kants. Walter de Gruyter 1--139.
    In Kant’s logical texts the reference of the form S is P to an “unknown = x” is well known, but its understanding still remains controversial. Due to the universality of all concepts, the subject as much as the predicate is regarded as predicate of the x, which, in turn, is regarded as the subject of the judgment. In the CPR, this Kantian interpretation of the S-P relationship leads to the question about the relations between intuition and concept in judgment. (...)
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  38. James Connelly (2014). Russell and Wittgenstein on Logical Form and Judgement: What Did Wittgenstein Try That Wouldn't Work? Theoria 80 (3):232-254.
    In this article, I pay special expository attention to two pieces of philosophically relevant Wittgenstein–Russell correspondence from the period leading up to the ultimate demise of Russell's Theory of Knowledge manuscript (in June 1913). This is done in the hopes of shedding light on Wittgenstein's notoriously obscure criticisms of Russell's multiple relation theory of judgement. I argue that these two pieces of correspondence (the first, a letter from Wittgenstein to Russell dated January 1913, and the second, a letter from Russell (...)
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  39. John Cook (2003). Gerhard Preyer and Georg Peter, Eds., Logical Form and Language. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 23:362-363.
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  40. John R. Cook (2003). Gerhard Preyer and Georg Peter, Eds., Logical Form and Language Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 23 (5):362-363.
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  41. John Corcoran (1972). Conceptual Structure of Classical Logic. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 33 (1):25-47.
    One innovation in this paper is its identification, analysis, and description of a troubling ambiguity in the word ‘argument’. In one sense ‘argument’ denotes a premise-conclusion argument: a two-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—and a single sentence—the conclusion. In another sense it denotes a premise-conclusion-mediation argument—later called an argumentation: a three-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—a single sentence—the conclusion—and complex of sentences—the mediation. The latter is often intended to show that the conclusion follows from (...)
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  42. Harry T. Costello & Ludwig Wittgenstein (1957). Notes on Logic. Journal of Philosophy 54 (9):230-245.
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  43. M. J. Cresswell (2003). Logical Form and Language. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2):283 – 284.
    Book Information Logical Form and Language. Edited by G. Preyer and G. Peter. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 2002. Pp. x + 512. Hardback, £55. Paperback, £19.99.
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  44. M. J. Cresswell (2003). Logical Form and Language. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2):283-284.
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  45. M. J. Cresswell (1986). Lycan, W. G., "Logical Form in Natural Language". [REVIEW] Mind 95:266.
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  46. Robert C. Cummins (1975). Truth and Logical Form. Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (1):29 - 44.
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  47. A. J. Dale (1982). Logical Equivalents and Logical Form. Analysis 42 (4):190 - 194.
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  48. Donald Davidson (2001). Essays on Actions and Events: Philosophical Essays Volume 1. Clarendon Press.
    Donald Davidson has prepared a new edition of his classic 1980 collection of Essays on Actions and Events, including two additional essays. In this seminal investigation of the nature of human action, Davidson argues for an ontology which includes events along with persons and other objects. Certain events are identified and explained as actions when they are viewed as caused and rationalized by reasons; these same events, when described in physical, biological, or physiological terms, may be explained by appeal to (...)
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  49. Donald Davidson (1967). The Logical Form of Action Sentences. In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press
  50. Donald Davidson (1966). The Logical Form of Action Statements.". In Nicholas Rescher & Alan Ross Anderson (eds.), The Logic of Decision and Action. Pittsburgh]University of Pittsburgh Press
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