Type-Logical Semantics

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online (2011)
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Abstract
Type-logical semantics studies linguistic meaning with the help of the theory of types. The latter originated with Russell as an answer to the paradoxes, but has the additional virtue that it is very close to ordinary language. In fact, type theory is so much more similar to language than predicate logic is, that adopting it as a vehicle of representation can overcome the mismatches between grammatical form and predicate logical form that were observed by Frege and Russell. The grammatical forms of ordinary language sentences consequently may be taken to be much less misleading than logicians in the first half of the 20th century often thought them to be. This was realized by Richard Montague, who used the theory of types to translate fragments of ordinary language into a logical language. Semantics is commonly divided into lexical semantics, which studies the meaning of words, and compositional semantics, which studies the way in which complex phrases obtain a meaning from their constituents. The strength of type-logical semantics lies with the latter, but type-logical theories can be combined with many competing hypotheses about lexical meaning, provided these hypotheses are expressed using the language of type theory.
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On Denoting.Russell, Bertrand
Knowledge and Belief.Hintikka, Jaakko
General Semantics.Lewis, David K.
On Denoting.Russell, Bertrand

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2011-03-03

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