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Call For Papers
 

Formal and Intentional Semantics

Deadline: April 30, 2012

Deadline for Submissions: April 30, 2012
Advisory Editor: Dale Jacquette, University of Bern (dale.jacquette@philo.unibe.ch)

This issue of The Monist will examine an important ideological and methodological division in contemporary theory of meaning. Does meaning originate in thought, or is it a purely formal relation? Can the mind's ability to express thoughts in language be computerized, and can machines be made capable of meaningful speech acts? Purely formal semantic approaches, including computer modelings, treat meaning as an abstract mapping of objects onto objects, with no reference to a thinker expressing thoughts by means of language. An intentionalist theory, in contrast, considers expressive intentional states as essential to understanding meaning, but opens itself in turn to a number of objections. This collection will provide an opportunity for defenders of both sides of this fundamental watershed in theoretical semantics to make their case, and to engage in dialectical confrontation and exchange. One focus of discussion will be provided by the test case of computer semantics and computerized models of meaning, in which a purely formalist extensionalist concept of meaning is tested in practical application. If formalism is true, then it must be possible in principle to mechanize meaning in a conscious thinking and language-using machine; if intentionalism is true, no such project is intelligible.


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