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Lexical Meaning and Logical Inference

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The interlocking of logic and meaning in language

A better understanding of the ways in which language and grammar encode logical relations is possible via cross-fertilisation between disciplines, providing new advances in the fields of linguistics and philosophy.

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The respective roles of logical and non-logical inference in natural language meaning is a longstanding issue at the intersection of logic, philosophy of language, and cognitive science. An EU-funded project, LEXMEAN (Lexical meaning and logical inference), undertook an interdisciplinary approach to examine this connection. Connections between three debates in three different disciplines were examined. These were the treatment of logical constants in philosophy of logic, the treatment of the functional versus lexical distinction in linguistics, and the analysis of the semantics versus pragmatics distinction in philosophy of language. Importance was given to the criteria that distinguish logically valid inferences from other inference patterns. Also deemed crucial was understanding the importance between the lexical and the functional properties of expressions. Case studies were carried out involving different classes of expressions. In addition to scientific objectives, training and career development goals were also emphasised. Research articles have been published in various venues and more are foreseen for the future. The work will have an impact in the fields of linguistics and philosophy.

Keywords

Language, grammar, philosophy, cognitive science, lexical meaning, logical inference

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