The Logic of Semantics

  • Johan Van Benthem
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 29)


Now that semantical investigations of natural language have established themselves as a recognized scientific activity, research material is accumulating which invites reflection. For, much clarity is still to be achieved as to the nature of semantic theory, explanation or evidence. One way to proceed here is by general philosophizing, much as in earlier periods. But a more concrete approach is also available at the present stage. There is room for a foundational component of semantics, consisting of a logical study of semantic theory. The grand aim of such a study was stated already; its specific contributions will concern such recurrent issues as the role of ‘semantic constraints’ on grammar, the nature of compositionality, the adequacy of first-order logical forms, or the content of ‘semantic universals’. Many of these themes concern the relation between syntax and its interpretation; and indeed one may think of a mathematical semantics as an extension of traditional ‘mathematical linguistics’, which is essentially a science of syntax.


Semantic Theory Formal Semantic Human Language Predicate Logic Discourse Representation 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johan Van Benthem
    • 1
  1. 1.Mathematics InstituteUniversity of AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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