Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 419–452

Holism, Language Acquisition, and Algebraic Logic

  • Eli Dresner

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020895422437

Cite this article as:
Dresner, E. Linguistics and Philosophy (2002) 25: 419. doi:10.1023/A:1020895422437


In the first section of this paper I present a well known objection to meaning holism, according to which holism is inconsistent with natural language being learnable. Then I show that the objection fails if language acquisition includes stages of partial grasp of the meaning of at least some expressions, and I argue that standard model theoretic semantics cannot fully capture such stages. In the second section the above claims are supported through a review of current research into language acquisition. Finally, in the third section it is argued that contemporary algebraic logical systems consist in a superior formal vehicle through which to capture stages of partial grasp of meaning; this claim is supported by concrete examples.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eli Dresner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTel Aviv UniversityRamat AvivIsrael