Could semantics be something else? Philosophical challenges for formal semantics
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
When in 1980, on the Third Amsterdam Colloquium, Johan van Benthem read a paper with the title ‘Why is Semantics What?’ (cf. ), I was puzzled: Wasn’t it obvious what semantics is? Why did our concept of it stand in need of justification? Later, much later, I came to appreciate what Van Benthem was doing in this paper (and in some others). Questioning the ‘standard model’, the assumptions on which the working semanticists silently agree, Van Benthem opened up a space of issues to be discussed, questions to be asked, routes to be explored, that had been hidden from view by the unreflective endorsement of just one possible, albeit fruitful way of doing semantics. History, by the way, has proven him right on many points: the monolithic approach that dominated formal semantics of natural language in the seventies, and which relied heavily on Montague’s seminal papers, has given way to a multitude of different ways of tackling semantic issues, using different formal techniques. Some limitations, in particular the almost exclusive focus on sentences as the primary units of analysis, have been overcome. In another respect, however, I feel that the message of Van Benthem’s paper has not caught on sufficiently. He urges semanticists to take more interest in the properties of their tools, arguing that such questions are important if we are to come to a real, deep understanding of what semantics is. Such ‘meta-level’ considerations, although certainly less scarce than they used to be, are still not an everyday concern of the working semanticist.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Laura Schroeter (2010). Two-Dimensional Semantics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Chris Fox (2005). Foundations of Intensional Semantics. Blackwell Pub..
Shalom Lappin (ed.) (1996). The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory. Blackwell Reference.
Juan Barba (2007). Formal Semantics in the Age of Pragmatics. Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (6):637-668.
Johan van Benthem (1983). Logical Semantics as an Empirical Science. Studia Logica 42 (2-3):299-313.
Johan Van Benthem (1983). Logical Semantics as an Empirical Science. Studia Logica 42 (2/3):299 - 313.
J. A. G. Groenendijk, T. M. V. Janssen & M. J. B. Stokhof (eds.) (1984). Truth, Interpretation, and Information: Selected Papers From the Third Amsterdam Colloquium. Foris Publications.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads25 ( #189,781 of 1,940,949 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #457,798 of 1,940,949 )
How can I increase my downloads?