The Science of Meaning: Essays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics

Oxford: Oxford University Press (2018)

Authors
Brian Rabern
University of Edinburgh
Derek Ball
University of St. Andrews
Abstract
By creating certain marks on paper, or by making certain sounds-breathing past a moving tongue-or by articulation of hands and bodies, language users can give expression to their mental lives. With language we command, assert, query, emote, insult, and inspire. Language has meaning. This fact can be quite mystifying, yet a science of linguistic meaning-semantics-has emerged at the intersection of a variety of disciplines: philosophy, linguistics, computer science, and psychology. Semantics is the study of meaning. But what exactly is "meaning"? What is the exact target of semantic theory? Much of the early work in natural language semantics was accompanied by extensive reflection on the aims of semantic theory, and the form a theory must take to meet those aims. But this meta-theoretical reflection has not kept pace with recent theoretical innovations. This volume re-addresses these questions concerning the foundations of natural language semantics in light of the current state-of-the-art in semantic theorising.
Keywords semantics  meaning  semantic metatheory  metasemantics
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