Changing notions of linguistic competence in the history of formal semantics

In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning: Essays on the metatheory of natural language semantics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 172-196 (2018)

Abstract
In the history of formal semantics, the successful joining of linguistic and philosophical work brought with it some difficult foundational questions concerning the nature of meaning and the nature of knowledge of language in the domain of semantics: questions in part about “what’s in the head” of a competent language-user. This paper, part of a project on the history of formal semantics, revisits the central issues of (Partee, 1979) in a historical context, as a clash between two traditions, Fregean and Chomskyan, a clash that accompanied early work combining Montague’s semantics with Chomskyan syntax. Recent advances in philosophy of mind (from, e.g., Stalnaker and Burge) go a long way towards changing the framework of arguments about “psychological reality” and “competence”, challenging the suppositions on which the original dichotomy rested, thus largely defusing the tension.
Keywords Chomsky  generative grammar  lexical semantics  psychologism  semantic externalism  linguistic competence  formal semantics
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