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In formal semantics and philosophy of language, a meaning postulate is a way of stipulating a relationship between the meanings of two or more words. They were introduced by Rudolf Carnap as a way of approaching the analytic/synthetic distinction.[1] Subsequently, Richard Montague made heavy use of meaning postulates in the development of Montague grammar,[2] and they have features prominently in formal semantics following in Montague's footsteps.[3]

Examples

Meaning Postulate is a formula to express an aspect of the sense of a predicate. The formula is expressed with - so-called - connectives. The used connectives are:

  paraphrase ≡ "if and only if"
  entailment → "if"
  binary antonomy ~ "not"

Following examples will simplify this:

1. "If and only if X is a man, then X is a human being." In meaning postulate this would look like this:

  x MAN ≡ x HUMAN BEING

2. "If X is a girl, then X is female." In meaning postulate this would look like this:

  x GIRL → x FEMALE

3. "X is not awake, therefore X is asleep." In meaning postulate this would look like this:

  x ASLEEP → ~x AWAKE

See also

References

  1. ^ Carnap, Rudolf (October 1952). "Meaning postulates". Philosophical Studies. 3 (5): 65–73. doi:10.1007/BF02350366. ISSN 0031-8116.
  2. ^ Montague, Richard (1973), "The Proper Treatment of Quantification in Ordinary English", in Hintikka, K. J. J.; Moravcsik, J. M. E.; Suppes, P. (eds.), Approaches to Natural Language, Springer Netherlands, pp. 221–242, doi:10.1007/978-94-010-2506-5_10, ISBN 978-90-277-0233-3
  3. ^ Partee, Barbara (2014). "A Brief History of the Syntax-Semantics Interface in Western Formal Linguistics". Syntax-Semantics Interface. 1: 1–21.