Logic & Natural Language: On Plural Reference and Its Semantic and Logical Significance

1st Edition

Hanoch Ben-Yami

Published February 28, 2004
Reference - 168 Pages
ISBN 9780754637431 - CAT# Y233359
Series: Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Philosophy

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Frege's invention of the predicate calculus has been the most influential event in the history of modern logic. The calculus’ place in logic is so central that many philosophers think, in fact, of it when they think of logic. This book challenges the position in contemporary logic and philosophy of language of the predicate calculus claiming that it is based on mistaken assumptions. Ben-Yami shows that the predicate calculus is different from natural language in its fundamental semantic characteristics, primarily in its treatment of reference and quantification, and that as a result the calculus is inadequate for the analysis of the semantics and logic of natural language. Ben-Yami develops both an alternative analysis of the semantics of natural language and an alternative deductive system comparable in its deductive power to first order predicate calculus but more adequate than it for the representation of the logic of natural language. Ben-Yami's book is a revolutionary challenge to classical first order predicate calculus, casting doubt on many of the central claims of modern logic.

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