Formal semantics and functional semantics

Peter Widell, Peter Harder

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The article represents an attempt to clarify relations between two
rather different approaches to the description of linguistic meaning: truth-
conditional semantics (as represented by Peter Widell) and functional
semantics (as represented by Peter Harder). The two approaches are
anchored in different traditions, are based on different theoretical premises,
and have different objectives. Truth-conditional semantics is based on
a philosophical tradition with strong relations to logic, while functional
semantics is based on a linguistic tradition with borrowings from
evolutionary biology (and also from speech acts philosophy). We argue that
an integrated picture that accommodates both approaches can be achieved
by a mutual recognition of the different aims as well as of a central area in
which the different aims give rise to compatible insights about linguistic
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe sign of the V : papers in the honour of Sten Vikner
EditorsKen Ramshøj Christensen, Henrik Jørgensen, Johanna L. Wood
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherAU Library Scholarly Publishing Services
Publication dateDec 2019
ISBN (Print)978-87-91134-05-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7507-461-7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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