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Paperback | Out of Print | 377 pp. | 6 x 9 in | June 1995 | ISBN: 9780262720243

Language in Action

Categories, Lambdas, and Dynamic Logic


Language in Action demonstrates the viability of mathematical research into the foundations of categorial grammar, a topic at the border between logic and linguistics. Since its initial publication it has become the classic work in the foundations of categorial grammar. A new introduction to this paperback edition updates the open research problems and records relevant results through pointers to the literature.

Van Benthem presents the categorial processing of syntax and semantics as a central component in a more general dynamic logic of information flow, in tune with computational developments in artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Using the paradigm of categorial grammar, he describes the substructural logics driving the dynamics of natural language syntax and semantics. This is a general type-theoretic approach that lends itself easily to proof-theoretic and semantic studies in tandem with standard logic. The emphasis is on a broad landscape of substructural categorial logics and their proof-theoretical and semantic peculiarities. This provides a systematic theory for natural language understanding, admitting of significant mathematical results. Moreover, the theory makes possible dynamic interpretations that view natural languages as programming formalisms for various cognitive activities.

About the Author

Johan van Benthem is University Professor of Pure and Applied Logic at the University of Amsterdam and Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. He is the author of Language in Action: Categories, Lambdas, and Dynamic Logic (MIT Press), Exploring Logical Dynamics, Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, and other books.