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John Buridan$
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Gyula Klima

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195176223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176223.001.0001

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Natural Language and the Idea of a “Formal Syntax” in Buridan

Natural Language and the Idea of a “Formal Syntax” in Buridan

Chapter:
(p.121) 5 NATURAL LANGUAGE AND THE IDEA OF A “FORMAL SYNTAX” IN BURIDAN
Source:
John Buridan
Author(s):

Gyula Klima (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176223.003.0005

The fifth chapter provides a detailed discussion of Buridan’s strategy of identifying the conceptual structures discussed in the chapter 4 by means of the various “syntactical clues” provided by spoken and written natural languages (in particular, Latin). The chapter compares the Buridanian strategy of “regimentation” with the modern (post-Frege-Russell-Montague) strategy of formalization, and argues that for the purposes of a “natural logic” the former is not inferior to the latter. But in order to bridge the conceptual gap between the two approaches, the chapter also discusses a simple extension of standard quantification theory (using restricted variables) that is capable of faithfully representing a large part of Buridan’s logic. Indeed, the chapter argues that the resulting formal system is in accord not only with Buridan’s logic, but with our natural language intuitions in general, providing more faithful representation of natural language reasoning than standard quantification theory.

Keywords:   regimentation, formalization, natural logic, restricted variables

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