Formal Extensional Semantics (Semi-Guest Speaker William Rose, 10/16/13)

Mr. Rose told us about Formal Extensional Semantics, which is the study of how words in a sentence come together to form meaning.

NOTES (thanks to WL — to be completed):

  • This stuff might be slightly out of date
  • Semantics is about meaning. This is important, because the whole reason we use langage is that it has meaning.
  • The form that sentences take is based on their meaning
  • To know the meaning of a sentence is to know its truth conditions (when it is true)
  • (1) There is a bag of potatoes in my pantry.
  • Truth conditions: what must be true about the world for this sentence to be true
  • Awkwardness of studying objects made of words using words. Distinguish between object language (language of the object under study) from metalanguage (langauge used to study the object).
  • The sentence “There is a bag of potatoes in my pantry” is true if and only if there is a bag of potatoes in my pantry.
  • Quotes signify element which is being studied
  • Problem: It’s just unsatisfactory to say that the sentence “_______” is true iff _______.¬†Doesn’t explain anything or give predictions.

 

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