Holism, language acquisition, and algebraic logic

Eli Dresner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the first section of this paper I present a well known objection to meaning holism, according to which holism is inconsistent with natural language being learnable. Then I show that the objection fails if language acquisition includes stages of partial grasp of the meaning of at least some expressions, and I argue that standard model theoretic semantics cannot fully capture such stages. In the second section the above claims are supported through a review of current research into language acquisition. Finally, in the third section it is argued that contemporary algebraic logical systems consist in a superior formal vehicle through which to capture stages of partial grasp of meaning; this claim is supported by concrete examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-452
Number of pages34
JournalLinguistics and Philosophy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


FundersFunder number
Edelstein Center


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