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The Science of MeaningEssays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics$
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Derek Ball and Brian Rabern

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198739548.001.0001

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Fregean Compositionality

Fregean Compositionality

Chapter:
(p.276) 10 Fregean Compositionality
Source:
The Science of Meaning
Author(s):

Thomas Ede Zimmermann

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198739548.003.0010

Two distinctive features of Frege’s approach to compositionality are reconstructed in terms of the theory of extension and intension: (i) its bias in favour of extensional operations; and (ii) its resort to indirect senses in the face of iterated opacity. While (i) has been preserved in current formal semantics, it proves to be stronger than a straightforward extensionality requirement in terms of Logical Space, the difference turning on a subtle distinction between extensions at particular points and extensions per se. (ii) has traditionally been dismissed as redundant, and is shown to lead to a mere ‘baroque’ reformulation of ordinary compositionality. Nevertheless, whatever Frege’s motive, the very idea of having opaque denotations keep track of the depth of their embedding gives rise to a fresh view at certain scope paradoxes that had previously been argued to lie outside the reach of a binary distinction between extension and intension.

Keywords:   Bäuerle, compositionality, extension, Frege, intension, Montague, scope paradox

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