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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

(p.276) 10 Fregean Compositionality
The Science of Meaning

Thomas Ede Zimmermann

Oxford University Press

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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