Knowledge of Meaning: An Introduction to Semantic Theory / Edition 1

Knowledge of Meaning: An Introduction to Semantic Theory / Edition 1

by Richard K. Larson, Gabriel M.A. Segal
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262621002

ISBN-13: 9780262621007

Pub. Date: 09/23/1995

Publisher: MIT Press

Current textbooks in formal semantics are all versions of, or introductions to, the same paradigm in semantic theory: Montague Grammar.
Knowledge of Meaning is based on different assumptions and a different history. It provides the only introduction to truth- theoretic semantics for natural languages, fully integrating semantic theory into the modern

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Overview

Current textbooks in formal semantics are all versions of, or introductions to, the same paradigm in semantic theory: Montague Grammar.
Knowledge of Meaning is based on different assumptions and a different history. It provides the only introduction to truth- theoretic semantics for natural languages, fully integrating semantic theory into the modern Chomskyan program in linguistic theory and connecting linguistic semantics to research elsewhere in cognitive psychology and philosophy. As such, it better fits into a modern graduate or undergraduate program in linguistics, cognitive science, or philosophy. Furthermore, since the technical tools it employs are much simpler to teach and to master, Knowledge of Meaning can be taught by someone who is not primarily a semanticist.

Linguistic semantics cannot be studied as a stand-alone subject but only as part of cognitive psychology,
the authors assert. It is the study of a particular human cognitive competence governing the meanings of words and phrases. Larson and Segal argue that speakers have unconscious knowledge of the semantic rules of their language, and they present concrete, empirically motivated proposals about a formal theory of this competence based on the work of Alfred Tarski and Donald Davidson. The theory is extended to a wide range of constructions occurring in natural language, including predicates,
proper nouns, pronouns and demonstratives, quantifiers, definite descriptions,
anaphoric expressions, clausal complements, and adverbs.

Knowledge of Meaning gives equal weight to philosophical,
empirical, and formal discussions. It addresses not only the empirical issues of linguistic semantics but also its fundamental conceptual questions, including the relation of truth to meaning and the methodology of semantic theorizing. Numerous exercises are included in the book.

The MIT Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262621007
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
09/23/1995
Series:
Bradford Books Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
659
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1The Nature of Semantic Theory1
2Knowledge of Meaning and Theories of Truth25
3Meaning and Structure67
4Verbs and Predication115
5Proper Nouns and Reference161
6Pronouns and Demonstratives197
7Quantification227
8Quantifiers and Quantifier Properties269
9Definite Descriptions319
10Anaphora361
11Clausal Complements and Attitude Reports415
12Events, States, and Times465
13Meaning and Knowledge525
Notes555
References591
Author Index611
Subject Index615

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