Formal Semantics

Wayne A. Davis

in Nondescriptive Meaning and Reference

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780199261659
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603099 | DOI:
 Formal Semantics

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This chapter shows that the treatment of names as having nondescriptive, indefinable senses does not preclude a powerful formal semantics; that the referential properties of names can be treated formally without identifying the meaning of a name with its reference; and that names can be handled within an ideational semantics, or by situation and possible worlds semantics. The key to avoiding both Russell’s and Frege’s problems is to drop the assumption that the elements of the ordered n-tuples representing situations, or the values of intension functions representing meanings, are the referents of the terms whose meanings are being represented, and to rely on the formal character of formal semantics.

Keywords: formal semantics; ideational semantics; situation semantics; possible worlds semantics; intension functions; character functions; world models; model structures; co-representation relation; counterpart relation

Chapter.  11822 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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