Montague Grammar, Mental Representations, and Reality

  • Barbara Hall Partee
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 143)


Over the past ten years or so, there has been a notable convergence of interest between linguists and philosophers on issues in semantic theory and the semantic description of natural languages. Within the line of development in which Montague’s work is an important milestone, a key feature has been the influence of the formal semantic theories of logicians on the semantic analysis of natural languages, and the equally important influence of natural language semantic description on the elaboration and enrichment of formal semantic theories. Although this development is in many ways similar to the development of syntax under Chomsky and other generative grammarians in the past two decades, a development marked at least at the outset by the mutual influence of progressively refined formal syntactic theories and progressively formalized syntactic descriptions of natural language phenomena, nevertheless there remains considerable skepticism among some linguists toward the applicability of formal logical models to natural language semantics. In my own previous work I have argued for the appropriateness of a suitably constrained Montague-type possible worlds semantics as a candidate for a linguistic theory of semantics; in this paper I wish to raise what I perceive to be certain fundamental problems in the application of Montague’s theory to the goals of linguistics.


Natural Kind Lexical Item Causal History Natural Kind Term Lexical Semantic 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Hall Partee
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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