Why Philosophers should do Semantics (and a bit of syntax too): a Reply to Cappelen

  • Ryan M. Nefdt


In this paper, I address a series of arguments recently put forward by Cappelen Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8(4): 743–762 (2017) to the effect that philosophers should not do formal semantics or be concerned with the “minutiae of natural language semantics”. He offers two paths for accessing his ideas. I argue that his arguments fail in favour of the first and cast some doubt on the second in so doing. I then proffer an alternative conception of why exactly philosophers should continue to do formal linguistics which includes both semantics and syntax.



I am grateful to Bob M. Martin, Bernhard Weiss, Jack Richter, Paul Egré and two anonymous reviewers for insightful comments of various drafts of this work.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa

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