MoL-2014-15: Philosophy of logical practice: a case study in formal semantics

MoL-2014-15: Maddirala, Nikhil (2014) Philosophy of logical practice: a case study in formal semantics. [Report]

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This thesis attempts to delineate the contours of a nascent domain of inquiry which shall be known as "philosophy of logical practice" and to make a modest contribution to this field, by way of a case study in formal semantics. Over the past few decades, logic has spawned a lively scientific community with its own social norms, rules of behavior and procedures for generating new results. Consequently, I believe that an adequate philosophy of logic needs to account for logical practice and provide an explanation for the practices and procedures of the logical community. Philosophy of logical practice seeks to do so by combining historical, philosophical and social scientific studies of logic. In this thesis I demonstrate one possible approach to philosophy of logical practice by way of a case study in formal semantics, which is a particular form of logical practice. The case study seeks to discuss the question "is formal semantics a failed discipline?" by drawing primarily on two methodological frameworks: (1) qualitative research in the social sciences — in particular, this case study is structured as an interview study featuring interviews with critics, insiders and outsiders of formal semantics — and (2) Thomas Kuhn’s framework for the understanding the history and philosophy of science. Major themes that emerge in the case study are: (1) the tension between the scientific and philosophical aspirations of formal semantics as a discipline, (2) the putative rivalry between formal semantics (based on mathematical logic) and computational linguistics (based on machine learning and stochastic processes), and (3) the trend towards empirical, data-driven research in the larger field of linguistics.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2014-15
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2014
Uncontrolled Keywords: logic, philosophy
Subjects: Logic
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:38

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