Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Situation Semantics, philosophy: situation semantics comprises a theory that assumes that the meaning of sentences is defined by the set of possible situations in which they are true. In concrete situations there is thus already a predefined meaning of the linguistic means used from the history of the use. The discussion about this theory focusses, among other things, on the distinction between situations and worlds. See also possible world semantics, situations, attitude semantics, centered worlds, context/context dependency, propositions, propositional attitudes, fine grained/coarse grained, internalism, externalism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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I 63
Situation Semantics/Barwise/Perry: possible worlds (poss.w.) are too big to explain what the speaker of a sentence knows. Possible World: complete possible situations.
CresswellvsBarwise: Situations need only be partial in the sense that they are small possible worlds.
I 69
CresswellVsBarweise/Perry: disjunction: their construction requires that situations are considered as possible worlds: E.g. I am at home or at the university: as a proposition incomplete, because both made true. - The situation can only be one of the two. - making true: the total (disjunction) does not have to be made true by an alternative, because it can also be made true by another alternative.
I 72
Situations seem incomplete. (E.g. Does the dog bark loudly or quietly?) - But they are not as incomplete as propositions.
I 71
Problem: Total situation: Machine is working (shows red or green). - still contradiction: is the situation described by a or by b? If the signal was neither showing red nor green, the incompleteness would be too radical.
I 73
Incomplete/situation/Barwise/Perry: E.g. naked infinitives with "see". Joe saw Fred coming in and Sally was smoking or not smoking. - Cresswell: so everything possible - but then possible world - Everything that can be a possible world is a possible world. Possible worlds do not have to be large, they can be as small as situations at Barwise/Perry - different: aspect/Hintikka: (= incompleteness of possible world): all facts about who slept during the lecture. - CresswellVsHintikka: we do not want lists, these are metaphysical here. - Solution/Cresswell. "Everything that interests us in the situation". ((s)so lists after all.) Thus the truth of the propositions can be determined.
I 74
Definition essentially incomplete/Cresswell: is a situation when it only needs to be part of an accumulation of situations (disjunction) - CresswellVsBarwise: but this does not work with naked infinitives with "see": E.g. of "Ralph saw Ortcutt or Hortcutt hide the letter" - at "Ralph saw... or saw... ". (This is not a that-sentence!) - This is not possible if seeing should be a relation between subject and situation - ((s) Then only one of the two.)
I 77
Situation Semantics/CresswellVs: knows only one kind of entities (situations). - instead: possible world semantics: three types: 1. possible world, single and complete (assessed with regard to truth) 2. Propositions: classes of possible worlds, are in logical relations and are the meanings of sentences in a context - 3. Individuals (individuals) among them events. - Situations/Cresswell: can be considered as one of each of these kind of entities.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Cr I
M. J. Cresswell
Semantical Essays (Possible worlds and their rivals) Dordrecht Boston 1988

M. J. Cresswell
Structured Meanings Cambridge Mass. 1984

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-10-23