Handbook of Philosophical Logic

Volume 164 of the series Synthese Library pp 189-274

Alternatives to Standard First-Order Semantics

  • Hugues LeblancAffiliated withTemple University

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Alternatives to standard semantics are legion, some even antedating standard semantics. I shall study several here, among them: substitutional semantics, truth-value semantics, and probabilistic semantics. All three interpret the quantifiers substitutionally, i.e. all three rate a universal (an existential) quantification true if, and only if, every one (at least one) of its substitution instances is true.2 As a result, the first, which retains models, retains only those which are to be called Henkin models. The other two dispense with models entirely, truth-value semantics using instead truth-value assignments (or equivalents thereof to be called truth-value functions) and probabilistic semantics using probability functions. So reference, central to standard semantics, is no concern at all of truth-value and probabilistic semantics; and truth, also central to standard semantics, is but a marginal concern of probabilistic semantics.