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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. 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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  2. Axel Arturo Barceló Aspeitia (2011). Sub-Sentential Logical Form. On Robert J. Stainton's "Words and Thoughts&Quot;. Critica 43 (129):53 - 63.
    Stainton argues (2006, 2001) 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 (...)
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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Yehoshua Bar-Hillel (1951). Comments on Logical Form. Philosophical Studies 2 (2):26 - 29.
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  6. Tomás Barrero (2013). Acción y construcción lógica. Crítica: Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía 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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  7. Jill Beckman (ed.) (1997). Proceedings of NELS 26. GLSA, UMass Amhert.
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  8. Michael Beebe (1976). The Basis of Semantic Structure. Dialogue 15 (04):624-641.
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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. F. K. C. (1982). Events, Reference, and Logical Form. Review of Metaphysics 36 (1):178-180.
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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. James Cargile (1970). IV. Davidson's Notion of Logical Form. Inquiry 13 (1-4):129-139.
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  19. Greg N. Carlson (1983). Logical Form: Types of Evidence. [REVIEW] Linguistics and Philosophy 6 (3):295 - 317.
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  20. 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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  21. O. Chateaubriand (2008). Logical Forms and Logical Form: Response to John Corcoran. Manuscrito 31 (1).
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  22. O. Chateaubriand (2008). Symbolism and Logical Form: Response to Javier Legris. Manuscrito 31 (1).
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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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.
  26. 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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  27. 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 of the judgment to an “unknown = x” is well known, but its understanding remains far from consensual. Due to the universality of all concepts, the subject as much as the predicate, in the form S is P, is regarded as predicate of the x, which, in turn, is regarded as the subject of the judgment. In the CPR, particularly in the text on the “logical use of the understanding”, this Kantian (...)
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  28. James Connelly (2013). Russell and Wittgenstein on Logical Form and Judgement: What Did Wittgenstein Try That Wouldn't Work? Theoria 80 (2).
    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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  29. Harry T. Costello & Ludwig Wittgenstein (1957). Notes on Logic. Journal of Philosophy 54 (9):230-245.
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  30. 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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  31. Robert C. Cummins (1975). Truth and Logical Form. Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (1):29 - 44.
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  32. A. J. Dale (1982). Logical Equivalents and Logical Form. Analysis 42 (4):190 - 194.
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  33. 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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  34. Donald Davidson (1967). The Logical Form of Action Sentences. In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press.
  35. Alice Drewery (2005). The Logical Form of Universal Generalizations. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):373 – 393.
    First order logic does not distinguish between different forms of universal generalization; in this paper I argue that lawlike and accidental generalizations (broadly construed) have a different logical form, and that this distinction is syntactically marked in English. I then consider the relevance of this broader conception of lawlikeness to the philosophy of science.
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  36. J. Edwards (1999). Interpreted Logical Forms and Knowing Your Own Mind. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (2):169-90.
    An attractive semantic theory presented by Richard K. Larson and Peter Ludlow takes a report of propositional attitudes, e.g 'Tom believes Judy Garland sang', to report a believing relation between Tom and an interpreted logical form constructed from 'Judy Garland sang'. We briefly outline the semantic theory and indicate its attractions. However, the definition of interpreted logical forms given by Larson and Ludlow is shown to be faulty, and an alternative definition is offered which matches their intentions. This definition is (...)
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  37. Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (2001). Logical Form Andthe Vernacular. Mind and Language 16 (4):393-424.
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  38. Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (2001). Logical Form Andthe Vernacular. Mind and Language 16 (4):393–424.
    Vernacularism is the view that logical forms are fundamentally assigned to natural language expressions, and are only derivatively assigned to anything else, e.g., propositions, mental representations, expressions of symbolic logic, etc. In this paper, we argue that Vernacularism is not as plausible as it first appears because of non-sentential speech. More specifically, there are argument-premises, meant by speakers of non-sentences, for which no natural language paraphrase is readily available in the language used by the speaker and the hearer. The speaker (...)
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  39. George Englebretsen (1981). A Note on Identity, Reference and Logical Form. Crítica 13 (39):75 - 81.
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  40. Gareth Evans (1976). Semantic Structure and Logical Form. In Gareth Evans & John McDowell (eds.), Truth and Meaning. Oxford University Press. 49--75.
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  41. Gareth Evans (1975). Identity and Predication. Journal of Philosophy 72 (13):343-363.
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  42. Gareth Evans & John Henry McDowell (eds.) (1976). Truth and Meaning: Essays in Semantics. Clarendon Press.
    Truth and Meaning is a classic collection of original essays on fundamental questions in the philosophy of language.
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  43. Robert Fiengo & Robert May (2002). Identity Statements. In Gerhard Preyer Georg Peter (ed.), Logical Form and Language. Clarendon Press. 169--203.
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  44. Graeme Forbes (1996). Logic, Logical Form, and the Open Future. Philosophical Perspectives 10:73 - 92.
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  45. Danny Fox, On Logical Form.
    A Logical Form (LF) is a syntactic structure that is interpreted by the semantic component. For a particular structure to be a possible LF it has to be possible for syntax to generate it and for semantics to interpret it. The study of LF must therefore take into account both assumptions about syntax and about semantics, and since there is much disagreement in both areas, disagreements on LF have been plentiful. This makes the task of writing a survey article in (...)
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  46. Danny Fox & Uli Sauerland (1997). Illusive Scope of Universal Quantifiers. In Jill Beckman (ed.), Proceedings of NELS 26. GLSA, UMass Amhert.
    It is widely believed that existential quantifiers can bring about the semantic effects of a scope which is wider than their actual syntactic scope (See Fodor & Sag (1982), Cresti (1995), Kratzer (1995), Reinhart (1995) and Winter (1995), among many others.) On the other hand, it is assumed that the syntactic scope of universal quantifiers can be determined unequivocally by the semantics. This paper shows that this second assumption is wrong; universal quantifiers can also bring about scope illusions, though in (...)
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  47. Elizabeth Fricker (1982). Semantic Structure and Speakers' Understanding. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 83:49 - 66.
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  48. Joseph S. Fulda (2008). Pragmatics, Montague, and “Abstracts From Logical Form”. Journal of Pragmatics 40 (6):1146-1147.
    In "Abstracts from Logical Form I/II," it was stated in the abstract that it remained necessary to put the pilot experiments into a "comprehensive theory." It is suggested here that the comprehensive theory is nothing other than classical logic modestly extended to include higher-order predicates, functions, and epistemic predicates, as well as a quantitative quantifier to deal with cases other than "all" (taken literally) or "some" in the sense of at least one. It is further suggested that up to a (...)
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  49. Joseph S. Fulda (2006). Abstracts From Logical Form: An Experimental Study of the Nexus Between Language and Logic II. Journal of Pragmatics 38 (6):925-943.
    This experimental study provides further support for a theory of meaning first put forward by Bar-Hillel and Carnap in 1953 and foreshadowed by Asimov in 1951. The theory is the Popperian notion that the meaningfulness of a proposition is its a priori falsity. We tested this theory in the first part of this paper by translating to logical form a long, tightly written, published text and computed the meaningfulness of each proposition using the a priori falsity measure. We then selected (...)
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  50. Joseph S. Fulda (2006). A Plea for Automated Language-to-Logical-Form Converters. RASK 24:87-102.
    This has been made available gratis by the publisher. -/- This piece gives the raison d'etre for the development of the converters mentioned in the title. Three reasons are given, one linguistic, one philosophical, and one practical. It is suggested that at least /two/ independent converters are needed. -/- This piece ties together the extended paper "Abstracts from Logical Form I/II," and the short piece providing the comprehensive theory alluded to in the abstract of that extended paper in "Pragmatics, Montague, (...)
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