From Whorf to Montague: Explorations in the Theory of Language

ISBN : 9780199682195

Pieter A.M. Seuren
384 Pages
162 x 237 mm
Pub date
Oct 2013
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This book explores the relations between language, the world, the minds of individual speakers, and the collective minds of particular language communities. Pieter Seuren examines the status of abstract rule systems underlying speech and considers how much computational power may be attributed to the human mind. The book opens with chapters on the social reality of language, the ancient question of the primacy of language or thought, and the relation between universal and language-specific features. Professor Seuren then considers links between language, logic, and mathematics: he suggests the facts of language require a theory with abstract principles, and that grammars should be seen as mediating between propositionally structured thoughts and systems, such as speech, for the production of utterances. He argues that grammars are neither autonomous nor independent of meaning. He concludes by considering how a fundamental rephrasing of the basic principles of logic could reconnect it with cognition and language and involve a principled rejection of possible-world semantics.


1. The Settling of a Language
2. The Whorf Hypothesis
3. Relativism or a Universal Theory?
4. What Does Language have to do With Logic and Mathematics?
5. A Testbed for Grammatical Theories
6. The Chomsky Hierarchy in Perspective
7. Reflexivity and Identity in Language and Cognition
8. The Generalized Logic Hierarchy and its Cognitive Implications
9. The Intensionalization of Extensions

About the author: 

Pieter Seuren has been a Research Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen since 1999 when he retired as Professor of Theoretical Linguistics at the University of Nijmegen. His books include Discourse Semantics and Semantic Syntax (Blackwell 1985 and 1996) and A View of Language (OUP 2001), Language in Cognition, and The Logic of Language (OUP, 2001, 2009, and 2010).

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