Relating Intensional Semantic Theories: Established Methods and Surprising Results

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10838)


Formal semantics comprises a plethora of theories which interpret natural language through the use of different ontological primitives (e.g. individuals, possible worlds, situations, propositions, individual concepts). The ontological relations between these theories are, today, still largely unexplored. In particular, it remains an open question whether the primitives from some of these theories can be coded in terms of objects from other theories, or whether the ontologies of some theories can even be reduced to the ontologies of other, ontologically poorer, theories. This paper answers the above questions for a proper subset of formal semantic theories which are designed for the interpretation of doxastic attitude reports. The paper formalizes some ontological relations between these theories that are only suggested (but are not made explicit) in the literature, and identifies several new relations. The paper uses these relations to show that ‘the’ unifying theory for attitude reports is, in fact, a class of theories whose members are equivalent up to coding.


Interpretation of doxastic attitude reports (Hyper-)Intensional semantics Ontological relations Unification Reduction 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for LinguisticsGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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