The architecture of meaning : Wittgenstein's tractatus and formal semantics

In David K. Levy & Edoardo Zamuner (eds.), Wittgenstein’s Enduring Arguments. Routledge (2008)
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With a few notable exceptions formal semantics, as it originated from the seminal work of Richard Montague, Donald Davidson, Max Cresswell, David Lewis and others, in the late sixties and early seventies of the previous century, does not consider Wittgenstein as one of its ancestors. That honour is bestowed on Frege, Tarski, Carnap. And so it has been in later developments. Most introductions to the subject will refer to Frege and Tarski (Carnap less frequently) —in addition to the pioneers just mentioned, of course— , and discuss the main elements of their work that helped shape formal semantics in some detail. But Wittgenstein is conspicuously absent whenever the history of the subject is mentioned (usually briefly, if at all).



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Martin Stokhof
University of Amsterdam

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