10:00 AM - 11:30 AM: Language Variation and Change Research Group
Group discussion of a paper: Eckert, Penelope (2019). The individual in the semiotic landscape. Glossa, 4(1).
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM: Semantics Research Group
Dan Milway (Ph.D. 2019): "On the uncountability of possible worlds."
In possible worlds semantics the extension of a proposition in a given context is not a truth value but rather a function from possible worlds to truth values. Using Cantor’s diagonal argument - a method from mathematical logic - I show that this theory of semantics predicts that, although the set of possible propositions and the set of possible worlds are both infinite, the set of possible worlds is larger than the set of possible propositions. I further argue that this incommensurability between worlds and propositions renders possible world semantics semantically incomplete. I close by exploring alternative approaches to semantics, some of which (e.g., situation semantics) suffer from the same problems as possible worlds semantics, while others, which require us to limit the empirical domain of semantics, are still available to us.