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Journal Articles Erkenntnis Year : 2016

Compositionality Solves Carnap's Problem


The standard relation of logical consequence allows for non-standard interpretations of logical constants, as was shown early on by Carnap. But then how can we learn the interpretations of logical constants, if not from the rules which govern their use? Answers in the literature have mostly consisted in devising clever rule formats going beyond the familiar what follows from what. A more conservative answer is possible. We may be able to learn the correct interpretations from the standard rules, because the space of possible interpretations is a priori restricted by universal semantic principles. We show that this is indeed the case. The principles are familiar from modern formal semantics: compositionality, supplemented, for quantifiers, with topic-neutrality.


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hal-02572480 , version 1 (29-04-2024)



Denis Bonnay, Dag Westerståhl. Compositionality Solves Carnap's Problem. Erkenntnis, 2016, 81 (4), pp.721--739. ⟨10.1007/s10670-015-9764-8⟩. ⟨hal-02572480⟩
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