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19. Language / C. Semantics / 1. Semantics

[general ideas about formal semantic theory]

28 ideas
Syntax and semantics are indeterminate, and modern 'semantics' is a bogus subject [Lycan on Quine]
We still lack an agreed semantics for quantifiers in natural language [Stalnaker]
'Descriptive' semantics gives a system for a language; 'foundational' semantics give underlying facts [Stalnaker]
English has no semantic theory, just associations between sentences and thoughts [Fodor]
Broad semantics holds that the basic semantic properties are truth and denotation [Fodor]
Semantics (esp. referential semantics) allows inferences from utterances to the world [Fodor]
Semantics relates to the world, so it is never just psychological [Fodor]
Teleosemantics equates meaning with the item the concept is intended to track [Papineau]
Semantics as theory of meaning and semantics as truth-based logical consequence are very different [Soames]
Semantics is either an assignment of semantic values, or a theory of truth [Fine,K]
Semantics is a body of semantic requirements, not semantic truths or assigned values [Fine,K]
That two utterances say the same thing may not be intrinsic to them, but involve their relationships [Fine,K]
The two main theories are Holism (which is inferential), and Representational (which is atomistic) [Fine,K]
The standard aim of semantics is to assign a semantic value to each expression [Fine,K]
We should pursue semantic facts as stated by truths in theories (and not put the theories first!) [Fine,K]
Referentialist semantics has objects for names, properties for predicates, and propositions for connectives [Fine,K]
Fregeans approach the world through sense, Referentialists through reference [Fine,K]
How does inferentialism distinguish the patterns of inference that are essential to meaning? [Williamson]
Inernalist inferentialism has trouble explaining how meaning and reference relate [Williamson]
Inferentialist semantics relies on internal inference relations, not on external references [Williamson]
The 't' and 'f' of formal semantics has no philosophical interest, and may not refer to true and false [Williamson]
In 'situation semantics' our main concepts are abstracted from situations [Mares]
Entailment is modelled in formal semantics as set inclusion (where 'mammals' contains 'cats') [Dougherty/Rysiew]
A theory of syntax can be based on Peano arithmetic, thanks to the translation by Gödel coding [Horsten]
The semantics of a sentence is its potential for changing a context [Magidor]
Semantic theories show how truth of sentences depends on rules for interpreting and joining their parts [Schroeter]
Semantic theory assigns meanings to expressions, and metasemantics explains how this works [Schroeter]
Success semantics explains representation in terms of success in action [Jenkins]