LINGUIST List 9.1585

Tue Nov 10 1998

Books: Semantics

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  1. Linguistics Club Publications, Semantics; A Network Theory of Reference, Kiyoshi Ishikawa

Message 1: Semantics; A Network Theory of Reference, Kiyoshi Ishikawa

Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 07:45:24 -0500 (EST)
From: Linguistics Club Publications <iulcindiana.edu>
Subject: Semantics; A Network Theory of Reference, Kiyoshi Ishikawa


A Network Theory of Reference
Kiyoshi Ishikawa (Hosei University)

 Noting specific inadequacies with truth-conditional approaches,
Ishikawa develops a dynamic theory of reference incorporating features of
Discourse Representation Theory, File Change Semantics and Situation
Semantics, and also deals with non-monotonic belief revision. He argues
that the task of natural language semantics is to describe meaning in
terms of the psychological relation of language to our cognition of 
external reality. In his approach, a linguistic expression's meaning is
its potential to change the information state of a cognitive agent.
Reference is not understood as a link to a real individual external to an
agent, but as the agent's act to link a character in a linguistic frame of
individuation to characters in other (linguistic or nonlinguistic) frames.
 As the target of inquiry, the distinction between referential and
attributive uses of definite descriptions is analyzed through the
construction of conversation scenarios. In addition, Ishikawa extends his
theory to an analysis of belief and attitude reports. Application of the
theory to cleft and pseudocleft constructions is also outlined.
 Presented in a very accessible style, Ishikawa's theory will be of
interest to scholars in cognitive science/artificial intelligence and
philosophy as well as linguistics. (Perfect-bound, 139 pp.)

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  • Pacific Linguistics
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  • Summer Institute of Linguistics