What is Meaning?: Fundamentals of Formal Semantics
February 2005, Wiley-Blackwell
- Explains the fundamental ideas and some of the most significant results of modern semantic theory
- Combines foundational discussion with simplified analyses of complex phenomena to provide readers with a sense of the fascination to be found in the details of the human language
- Includes exercises and thought-provoking questions to facilitate learning
1. The Fundamental Question.
What is a Meaning?.
Meanings are Out in the World.
We Should Think of the Meaning of Sentences in Terms of Truth-Conditions.
2. Putting a Meaning Together from Pieces.
Predication is Saturation.
Syntax and Semantics.
3. More about Predicates.
Other types of Predicates: Adjectives, Predicate Nominals.
Modeling Properties with Sets and Functions.
Adjective + N Combination.
More Issues with Adjectives.
Relative Clauses as Modifiers.
The Form of Meanings and Their World-Describing Content.
5. Complexities of Referring Expressions.
A Bit about Indefinite NPs.
Theories of reference.
Plurals and Mass Terms.
Pronouns and Anaphora.
Generalized Quantifiers: Predicates of Predicates, or Sets of Sets.
Negative Polarity Items.
Quantifiers in Object Position.
7. Extensional vs. Intensional Contexts.
8. Tense, Aspect, and Modality.
9. Propositional Attitudes.
A possible Worlds Semantics for Belief and Desire.
Logical Consequences of the Modal Analysis of Propositional Attitude Verbs.
Two Foundational Problems: Coreferential Terms and Logical Truths.
Structure and Meaning.
Or, Have We Reached the Limits of Semantics?.
10. The Pragmatics of What’s Given.
Indexicality and Deixis.
Focus and Topic.
11. The Pragmatics of Inference.
Properties of Implicature.
12. Formal Semantics Today.
Diversity within Formal Semantics.
Relationships with Other Varieties of Semantics.
Relationships with Other Fields.
Appendix: Answers to Selected Exercises.
- explains the fundamental ideas and some of the most significant results of modern semantic theory
- utilizes an intuitive and engaging style to present the field’s key ideas about how language works through unambiguous examples, pictures, and metaphor
- combines foundational discussion with simplified analyses of complex phenomena to provide readers with a sense of the fascination to be found in the details of the human language
- includes exercises and thought-provoking questions to facilitate learning