This volume is concerned with the representation of the meaning of language in formal logic. The Ontology of Language aims to show how some phenomena of language can be represented with a relatively simple formal logic. Similar work in this area has suggested that standard, 'classical' logical systems must be extended to account for the meaning of pronouns and other nominal expressions. Among other things, this work shows that by reconsidering how we represent natural language in a formal logic, some of these extensions are not required. Specifically, The Ontology of Language explores how semantic issues can be addressed in the framework of Property Theory in a way that minimizes the ontological commitments of the resulting semantics.
The book contributes to a number of topics in semantics, while at the same time provides an engaging discussion of key foundational issues and of what Property Theory can bring to them. The book starts with a version of Property Theory which stems from a combination of the lambda calculus with Aczel's Frege structures (a combination originally developed by Raymond Turner). Fox improves on this version and substantially extends it with original applications to plurals and mass nouns, to 'intensional individuals' and to the dynamics of discourse. Some useful appendixes on further extensions and alternatives are added. While formally this book is highly sophisticated, it also gives a sense of the elegance and flexibility of the underlying theory.