Johan van Benthem and Alice ter Meulen, eds


The relationships between logic and natural language are multiverse. On the one hand, logic is a theory of argumentation, proving and giving reasons, and such activities are primarily carried out in natural language. This means that logic is, in a certain loose sense, about natural language. On the other hand, logic has found it useful to develop its own linguistic means which sometimes in a sense compete with those of natural language. This has led to the situation where the systems of logic can be taken as interesting "models" of various aspects of natural language. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The alliance of logic and linguistics has flowered especially from the beginning of the seventies, when scholars like Montague, Lewis, Cresswell, Partee and others showed how semantics of natural language can be explicated with the help certain suitable logical calculi and the corresponding model theory. (Montague went so far as to claim that in view of this, there is no principal difference between natural and formal languages - but this is, as far as I can see, rather misguiding.) Since that time, the interdisciplinary movement of formal semantics (associating not only linguists and logicians, but also philosophers, computer scientists, cognitive psychologists and others) has yielded a rich repertoire of formal theories of natural language, some of them (like Hintikka's game-theoretical semantics or the dynamic logic of Groenendijk and Stokhof) being based directly on logic, others (like the situation semantics of Barwise and Perry or DRT of Kamp) exploiting different formal strategies. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Moreover, although the enterprise of formal semantics (i.e. of modeling natural language semantics by means of certain formal structures) seems to be the principal point of contact between linguistics and logic, there are also other cooperative enterprises. One of the most fruitful ones seems to be the logical analysis of syntax, which has resulted from elaboration of what was originally called categorial grammar. (However, even this enterprise can be seen as importantly stimulated by Montague.) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â All in all, the region in which logic and theoretical linguistics overlap has grown both in size and fertility..



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