Topic: HUMAN SEMANTICS
By Emma Borg
If we want to develop an intention-based semantics for natural language, it seems that we should follow the weaker, A-style approach (here attributed to Grice) rather than assign any more substantive role to speaker intentions. Yet, if this is the case, a question might now emerge concerning the relation of IBS to other varieties of semantic theory. Specifically, it is no longer clear to what degree IBS constitutes a genuine alternative to the approach of formal semantics (e.g. a truth-conditional approach, such as that instigated by Davidson). According to formal semantic theories the route to semantic content follows an exclusively syntactic path. That is to say, all propositional or truth-conditional semantic content can be traced back to the syntactic level and it is delivered by formal operations over the syntactic representations of sentences. Just as with an A-style IBS approach, the formal theorist will maintain that (formally described) sentences, rather than utterances, are the primary bearers of semantic content.
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy
Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:46 BST
Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005 16:49 BST