By (author) Emma Borg
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Minimal Semantics by Emma Borg
Book DescriptionMinimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for - if you were to be given a working theory of meaning for a language right now, what would you be able to do with it? Emma Borg sets out to defend a formal approach to semantic theorizing from a powerful contemporary opponent - advocates of what she call 'dual pragmatics'. According to dual pragmatists, rich pragmatic processes play two distinct roles in linguistic comprehension: as well as operating in a post-semantic capacity to determine the implicatures of an utterance, they also operate prior to the determination of truth-conditional content for a sentence. That is to say, they have an integral role to play within what is usually thought of as the semantic realm. Borg believes dual pragmatic accounts constitute the strongest challenge to standard formal approaches to semantics since they challenge the formal theorist to show not merely that there is some role for formal processes on route to determination of semantic content, but that such processes are alone sufficient for determining content. Minimal Semantics provides a detailed examination of this dual pragmatic position, introducing readers who are unfamiliar with the topic to key ideas like relevance theory and contextualism, and looking in detail at where these accounts diverge from the formal approach. Borg's defence of formal semantics has two main parts: first, she argues that the formal approach is most naturally compatible with an important and well-grounded psychological theory, namely the Fodorian modular picture of the mind. Then she argues that the main arguments adduced by dual pragmatists against formal semantics - concerning apparent contextual intrusions into semantic content - can in fact be countered by a formal theory. The defence holds, however, only if we are sensitive to the proper conditions of success for a semantic theory. Specifically, we should reject a range of onerous constraints on semantic theorizing (e.g., that it resolve epistemic or metaphysical questions, or that it explain our communicative skills). So Borg's answer to the question of what a semantic theory is for has a particular, minimal slant.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199206926
(230mm x 150mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 30-Nov-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Emma Borg
Pursuing Meaning, Paperback (April 2015)
Emma Borg examines the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and assesses recent answers to fundamental questions of how and where to draw the divide between the two. She argues for a minimal account of the interrelation between them-a 'minimal semantics'-which holds that only rule-governed appeals to context can influence semantic content.
Minimal Semantics, Hardback (July 2004)
Minimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for. Emma Borg argues for a minimal answer to this question, thereby defending so-called 'formal semantics' from some serious challenges. She argues that opponents confuse understanding of language with related skills, like understanding communication.
Meaning and Representation, Paperback (May 2002)» View all books by Emma Borg
* Discusses the relationship between meaning and representation. * Illustrates the differences that exist on the question of how formal representations relate to semantic representations. * Includes contributions by Tim Crane, Jerry Fodor, Paul Horwich, John Hyman, Ernie Lepore, Gregory McCulloch and Mark Sainsbury.
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