Proof-theoretic semantics for a natural language fragment

Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (6):447-477 (2010)

Authors
Nissim Francez
Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
Abstract
The paper presents a proof-theoretic semantics (PTS) for a fragment of natural language, providing an alternative to the traditional model-theoretic (Montagovian) semantics (MTS), whereby meanings are truth-condition (in arbitrary models). Instead, meanings are taken as derivability-conditions in a dedicated natural-deduction (ND) proof-system. This semantics is effective (algorithmically decidable), adhering to the meaning as use paradigm, not suffering from several of the criticisms formulated by philosophers of language against MTS as a theory of meaning. In particular, Dummett’s manifestation argument does not obtain, and assertions are always warranted, having grounds of assertion. The proof system is shown to satisfy Dummett’s harmony property, justifying the ND rules as meaning conferring. The semantics is suitable for incorporation into computational linguistics grammars, formulated in type-logical grammar.
Keywords Proof-theoretic semantics  Natural language  Harmony  Natural deduction
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-011-9088-3
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References found in this work BETA

The Logical Basis of Metaphysics.Michael DUMMETT - 1991 - Harvard University Press.
Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language.John Barwise & Robin Cooper - 1981 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):159--219.
A Note on Harmony.Nissim Francez & Roy Dyckhoff - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (3):613-628.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Note on Harmony.Nissim Francez & Roy Dyckhoff - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (3):613-628.
Characterizing Generics Are Material Inference Tickets: A Proof-Theoretic Analysis.Preston Stovall - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-37.

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