Belief-Sentences and the Limits of Semantics

  • Barbara Hall Partee
Part of the Synthese Language Library book series (SLAP, volume 16)


One of the goals of the conference of which this paper is a part is to compare the enterprise of formal semantics with that of procedure-oriented psychological semantics. The former has traditionally been the domain of logicians and philosophers, the latter the domain of psychologists and computer scientists, with some linguists on each side. The problem that is evident at the outset is that semantics is treated very differently within these two enterprises, each side seemingly committed to assumptions that lead to inadequacies by the other’s criteria. A fruitful comparison could lead to either of two outcomes, which we might characterize roughly as the “Separatist” position and the “Common Goals” position.


Lexical Item Formal Semantic Propositional Attitude Entailment Relation Natural Kind Term 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barwise, Jon: (1981) ‘Scenes and other situations’, Journal of Philosophy 78.7, 369–397.Google Scholar
  2. Barwise, Jon: (1981) ‘Semantic innocence and uncompromising situations’, in P. A. French, T. E. Uehling and H. K. Wettstein, eds., Midwest Studies in Philosophy VI, Univ. of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 387–404.Google Scholar
  3. Bigelow, John: (1978a) ‘Semantics of thinking, speaking, and translation’, in F. Guenthner and M. Guenthner-Reutter, eds., Meaning and Translation, New York University Press, New York, pp. 109–135.Google Scholar
  4. Bigelow, John: (1978b) ‘Believing in semantics’, Linguistics and Philosophy 2, 101–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carnap, Rudolf (1947) Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic, Univ. of Chicago Press, (enlarged ed. 1956 ).Google Scholar
  6. Chomsky, Noam: (1965) Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  7. Cresswell, M. J.: (1978) ‘Semantic competence’, in F. Guenthner and M. Guenthner-Reutter, eds„ Meaning and Translation, New York University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Cresswell, M. J.: (1982) ‘The autonomy of semantics’, this volume, pp. 69–86.Google Scholar
  9. Davidson, Donald and Gilbert Harman, eds.: (1975), The Logic of Grammar, Dickinson Pub. Co., Encino, Calif.Google Scholar
  10. Davidson, Donald: (1970) ‘Semantics for natural languages’, in Linguaggi nella società e nella tecnica, Edizioni di Comunità, Milano, pp. 177–188. Reprinted in Davidson and Harman, 1975.Google Scholar
  11. Dowty, David: (1980), Word Meaning and Montague Grammar, Synthese Language Library, D. Reidel Publishing Co., Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  12. Harman, Gilbert: (1973) ‘Against universal semantic representation’, unpublished manuscript (?), Princeton University.Google Scholar
  13. Hintikka, Jaakko: (1962) Knowledge and Belief, Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson-Laird, Philip: (1977) ‘Procedural semantics’, Cognition 5, 189–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Johnson-Laird, Philip: (1982) ‘Formal semantics and the-psychology of meaning’, this volume, pp. 1–68.Google Scholar
  16. Katz, Jerrold J.: 1972 ) Semantic Theory, Harper & Row, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Kripke, Saul: (1972) ‘Naming and necessity’ in D. Davidson and G. Harman, eds., Semantics of Natural Language, D. Reidel, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  18. Ladusaw, William: (1979) Polarity Sensitivity as Inherent Scope Relations, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.Google Scholar
  19. Lewis, David: (1970) ‘General semantics’, Synthese 2, 18–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Linebarger, Marcia: (1980) The Grammar of Negative Polarity Items, unpublished doctoral dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  21. Linsky, L.: (1977) ‘Believing and necessity’, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 50, 526–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Loar, Brian: (1976) ‘Two theories of meaning’, in G. Evans and J. McDowell, eds., Truth and Meaning: Essays in Semantics, Oxford Univ. Press, 138–161.Google Scholar
  23. Mates, Benson: (1950) ‘Synonymity’, in Meaning and Interpretation, Univ. of Calif. Publications in Philosophy 25, 201–226. Also in L. Linsky, Semantics and the Philosophy of Language, Urbana, 1952.Google Scholar
  24. Miller, George A. and Philip N. Johnson-Laird: (1976) Language and Perception, The Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  25. Montague, Richard: (1970) ‘Universal grammar’, reprinted in Montague (1974), pp. 222–246.Google Scholar
  26. Montague, Richard: (1973) ‘The proper treatment of quantification in ordinary English’, reprinted in Montague (1974), pp. 247–270.Google Scholar
  27. Montague, Richard: (1974) Formal Philosophy: Selected Papers of Richard Montague, edited and with an introduction by Richmond Thomason, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  28. Partee, Barbara: (1972) ‘The semantics of belief-sentences’, in J. Hintikka, J. Moravcsik, and P. Suppes, eds., Approaches to Natural Language, D. Reidel, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  29. Partee, Barbara: (1979) ‘Semantics—mathematics or psychology?’, in R. Bäuerle, U. Egli, and A. von Stechow (eds.), Semantics from Different Points of View, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Putnam, Hilary: (1954) ‘Synonymity and the analysis of belief-sentences’, Analysis 14, 114–22.Google Scholar
  31. Putnam, Hilary: (1975) The meaning of “meaning”’, in K. Gunderson, ed., Language, Mind and Knowledge, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science V II, Univ. of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  32. Putnam, Hilary: (1978) ‘Reference and understanding’, in Meaning and the Moral Sciences, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  33. Quine, W. V. O.: (1960) Word and Object, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  34. Sellars, Wilfrid: (1955) ‘Putnam on Synonymity and Belief’, Analysis 15, 117–20.Google Scholar
  35. Sgall, P., E. HajiZovâ, and O. Prochazka: (1977) ‘On the role of linguistic semantics’, Theoretical Linguistics 4, 31–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Siegel, Muffy: (1979) ‘Some thoughts on propositional attitudes, psychological meanings, and intensions in Montague Grammar’, unpublished manuscript, Temple University.Google Scholar
  37. Stalnaker, Robert: (1978) ‘Assertion’, in Peter Cole, ed., Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 9: Pragmatics, Academic Press, N.Y. ( 315–332 ).Google Scholar
  38. Woods, William: (1979) ‘Procedural semantics and a theory of meaning’, paper presented at the University of Texas Conference on semantics of natural language and natural language processing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Hall Partee

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations