Logic and language

Including the nature of meaning and propositions, formal semantics, metasemantics, pragmatics, syntax, semantic paradoxes, theories of truth, and the foundations of mathematics

The logic and language group brings together researchers working in these core areas of philosophy. Specific interests include Godel's results, theories of truth deflationism, semantic paradoxes, the applicability of mathematics, theoretical syntax, pragmatics, proof theory, and non-classical logic.

Research questions

Research questions our group is currently working on include:

  • What is the nature of propositions? Are these structured entities or rather sets of worlds?
  • What is the meaning of referential terms such as names, descriptions, indexicals, and demonstratives?
  • What is the relation between semantic values and various types of content?
  • What is the meaning of epistemic and deontic modal expressions?
  • Is there a common meaning to the many uses of 'if' clauses, and if so, what is it?
  • How should we construe possible worlds for the purpose of possible worlds semantics?

  • What are we trying to model when we assign meanings to expressions: Processes in the brain? Social conventions? Speaker intuitions? Something else? 


Core faculty working on logic and language include:

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Research interests
Dr Mahrad Almotahari Dr Almotahari has written about a variety of topics in the philosopy of language, the philosophy of mind, and metaphysics. His current work is largely about identity, Frege's Puzzle, and truth.
Professor Matthew Chrisman

Metaethics, philosophy of language, epistemology, political philosophy.

Dr Brian Rabern  Philosophy of language, formal semantics, philosophical logic.
Dr Wolfgang Schwarz Formal epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic

Other staff and post-docs with an interest in logic and language include:

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Research interests
Professor Guy Fletcher Metaethics, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of language.
Dr Inna Kupreeva  Ancient philosophy and science, ancient and mediaeval logic.
Dr Aidan McGlynn Epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, feminism.
Professor Mike Ridge Ethics, political philosophy, action theory, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language.
Dr Nick Treanor Metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind and language.
Professor Ronnie Cann (Linguistics) Theoretical linguistics especially dependency theory and word grammar, English syntax, lexical semantics, syntactic change
Professor Caroline Heycock (Linguistics) Syntactic theory, syntactic variation and change, Germanic, Japanese.
Professor Alex Lascarides (Informatics) Theoretical and computational linguistics, semantics, pragmatics, logic and knowledge representation.
Dr Paul Schweizer (Informatics) Philosophical logic, the computational paradigm, conceptual foundations of cognitive science and artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind and language.
Professor Mark Steedman (Informatics) Computational linguistics; spoken intonation; spoken language processing

Postgraduate study 

Meetings and events

The philosophy of language group meets once a month to discuss readings and work in progress. Contact Brian Rabern for more details.

Philosophy of language reading group

Brian Rabern

You may also be interested in the Language at Edinburgh lunches: regular poster sessions on language-related topics from PPLS and Informatics. There is also a wide range of linguistics reading groups and seminars.