Academy Lecture in Humanities and Social Sciences
The Origins of Formal Semantics from Linguistics and Philosophy: Humanities, Science or Both?
The topic of this year's Academy Lecture, on 15 March, is semantics, the study of linguistic meaning. "Semantics" can mean quite different things in different contexts; fields concerned with semantics are as diverse as psychology, law, computer science, lexicography, logic, philosophy, and linguistics. In this talk professor Barbara H. Partee (picture) will discuss some of the innovations and ideas that have shaped the development of semantics in linguistics and philosophy starting in the 1960's.
Formal semantics is a discipline that has developed over more than 40 years through fruitful interdisciplinary collaboration among linguists, philosophers, and logicians. And the lecture will describe some of the ways that advances and debates in formal semantics have been connected with foundational issues in linguistic theory, philosophy, and cognitive science, and it will discuss questions about the relationship between the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities in this context.
Barbara H. Partee is Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts. Photo: Pavel Iosad
Barbara H. Partee is professor emerita of linguistics and philosophy at the University of Massachusetts. For several decades she has been one of the most important theoreticians in a research field spanning linguistics, philosophy and logic, and she still contributes importantly in this field. Her research interests center on formal semantics and its connections with syntax, pragmatics, and logic, and on related issues in the philosophy of language and in cognitive science. One important research area is cross-linguistic quantification and semantic typology. Another area where her contributions have been especially important has to do with logic and formal semantics in relation to information structure. Other recent and current research include the semantics of adjectives and prototype theory.