This course will focus on framework choice in semantics.  Classical semantic theories, building on the work of Montague and others, represent the meaning of sentences in contexts by sets of possibilities or regions of logical space.   We will explore two related, non-classical semantic systems.  In both cases we will assess the empirical case for the departure from the standard framework.  The first non-standard system we will examine is a trivalent semantics, where sentences can be neither true nor false at some points of evaluation.  We will examine some of the motivations for this view including the treatment of vagueness, presupposition, and conditionals.  The second, more radical departure from classical semantics is dynamic semantics.  In this framework sentences do not have as their meaning sets of possibilities, but rather higher-order functional objects for manipulating contexts.  The motivations for dynamic semantics also includes the treatment of presupposition and conditionals.  We will look at formal properties common to all dynamic systems as a way of assessing the empirical implications of the framework choice.

Sessions 1 and 2

Introduction, Trivalence (vagueness, conditionals, quantifiers, scalar implicatures, introduction to presupposition)

Readings (all are supplementary, not required)

Sorensen, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
Fine, Vagueness, Truth and Logic (or in dropbox)
Williamson, Vagueness, selections (in dropbox)
Sauerland, The Case Against Fuzzy Logic Revisited

Scalar Implicature:
No readings on this directly, see
Chierchia, Fox, Spector or Spector’s lecture notes here for some background on scalar implicatures.

Lewis, Probabilities of Conditionals and Conditional Probability (or in dropbox)
Belnap, Conditional Assertion and Restricted Quantification
Huitink, Modals, Conditionals and Compositionality (skim for relevant parts)
Rothschild, Capturing the relationship between conditionals and conditional probability with a trivalent semantics
Rothschild, A Note on Conditionals and Restrictors (skim for relevant bits)

Trivalence (generally)
Seigfried Gottwald, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry (much irrelevant stuff)
Smith, Many Valued Logics (in dropbox)

Soames, Presupposition (introduction to topic and important discussion of trivalence, in dropbox)

First problem set (due before session 3, 12 Nov)

Sessions 3 and 4

Trivalence (presupposition), Truthmaker Semantics (presupposition, implicature), Dynamic Semantics (presupposition)


Fox, Two Short Notes on Schlenker
Fox, Presupposition Projection
van Fraassen, Facts and Tautological Entailment
Heim, On the Projection Problem for Presuppositions
Rothschild, Explaining Presupposition Projection

Second problem set (due before session 5, 17 Nov)

Sessions 5 and 6

Dynamic semantics (conditionals, epistemic modals, logical properties of dynamic semantics)


Rothschild and Yalcin, On the Dynamics of Conversation
Veltman, Defaults in Update Semantics (in dropbox)
Yalcin, Dynamic Semantics (in dropbox)
Yalcin, Epistemic Modals (in dropbox)

Third problem set (due before 3 Dec)