Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 313–341 | Cite as

Intertheoretic Reduction, Confirmation, and Montague’s Syntax-Semantics Relation

  • Kristina LiefkeEmail author
  • Stephan Hartmann


Intertheoretic relations are an important topic in the philosophy of science. However, since their classical discussion by Ernest Nagel, such relations have mostly been restricted to relations between pairs of theories in the natural sciences. This paper presents a case study of a new type of intertheoretic relation that is inspired by Montague’s analysis of the linguistic syntax-semantics relation. The paper develops a simple model of this relation. To motivate the adoption of our new model, we show that this model extends the scope of application of the Nagelian (or related) models and that it shares the epistemological advantages of the Nagelian model. The latter is achieved in a Bayesian framework.


Intertheoretic relations Reduction Montague semantics Syntax-semantics relation Philosophy of linguistics Bayesian confirmation 



We wish to thank Lucas Champollion, Paul Egré, Branden Fitelson, Greg Novack, Peter Pagin, Jan Sprenger, Markus Werning, Rineke Verbrugge, and three anonymous reviewers for JoLLI for valuable input about the content of this paper. We owe our audiences at the Future of Philosophy of Science Conference, FEW 11, Bridges 2014, and the Tokyo Forum for Analytic Philosophy for many helpful comments and suggestions. The research for this paper has been supported by Tilburg University (via K. Liefke’s doctoral fellowship), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (via S. Hartmann’s Humboldt Professorship), and the German Research Foundation (via K. Liefke’s grant LI 2562/1-1).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for LinguisticsGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Munich Center for Mathematical PhilosophyLudwig-Maximilians-University MunichMunichGermany

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