What Can You Say? Measuring the Expressive Power of Languages

Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley (2018)
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There are many different ways to talk about the world. Some ways of talking are more expressive than others—that is, they enable us to say more things about the world. But what exactly does this mean? When is one language able to express more about the world than another? In my dissertation, I systematically investigate different ways of answering this question and develop a formal theory of expressive power, translation, and notational variance. In doing so, I show how these investigations help to clarify the role that expressive power plays within debates in metaphysics, logic, and the philosophy of language.

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Alexander W. Kocurek
Cornell University


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