Intensionalism and Propositionalism in Linguistic Semantics

LoLa Advancedweek 3 each day

Kristina Liefke (Ruhr University Bochum)
Ede Zimmermann (Goethe University Frankfurt)


Abstract: This course introduces two competing approaches to the semantics of intensional constructions, viz. intensionalism and propositionalism, that have recently come to the forefront of discussion in semantics and the philosophy of language (see Zimmermann 2016; Forbes 2018; Grzankowski and Montague 2018). Propositionalism assumes that all intensional constructions can be interpreted as cases of truth-evaluable, clausal embedding. Intensionalism denies this and insists that the complements of certain intensional constructions require interpretation as some type of non-truth-evaluable meaning (e.g. individual concepts or properties). Our course surveys different variants of intensionalism and propositionalism, compares their type-theoretic foundations, and describes their respective methodological and empirical merits. As a result, the course will serve as a theory-driven (second) introduction to intensional semantics. Its integration of research topics from linguistics, logic, and philosophy makes this course well-suited for an interdisciplinary venue like ESSLLI.