Meaning and the Dynamics of Interpretation
Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, University of Cologne and Alice ter Meulen, University of Geneva
This selection of research papers written by Hans Kamp presents the core of his scientific research on natural language semantics and its relation to logic, philosophy and linguistics. Arranged in six sections, the topics range from philosophical reflection on the foundational issues in the ancient Sorites Paradox with a formal account of its solution, to a detailed account of presuppositions in dynamic semantics.
Ranking among the philosophers with great and lasting influence on formal semantics, Hans Kamp contributed early foundational research to core theoretical topics like temporal reference and vagueness, then pushed the boundaries of the discipline in new and productive directions. Showing the importance of non-truth-functional aspects of meaning, Discourse Representation Theory proved the value of a dynamic approach to interaction of text and context for our understanding of anaphora, word meaning and context-dependence. This collection shows very clearly how Kamp has forged ground-breaking connections among semantics, computation, and mental representation, challenging the once dominant Fregean anti-psychologism, while demonstrating that the best theoretical research can simultaneously yield important computational applications and novel cognitive insights. Barbara Partee, University of Massachussetts Amherst