The problem of ontological commitments in event semantics

Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Problema ontologicheskikh obyazatel'stv v semantike sobytiy
Mikhail Smirnov
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Issue number: 
No.4 (Vol.50)

The investigation is devoted to the problem of formal representation of logical structure and ontological commitments of natural language event sentences. The specificity of ontological commitments problem with regard to natural and formal languages is shown. The alternative approaches to the formal representation of event sentences (argument approach, davidsonian and neodavidsonian approaches, operator approach) are characterized with respect to their key features from formal logical and ontological points of view. The difference in the logical structure of sentences expressing events by verb phrases and by nominalization is depicted. The role of a paraphrase in formal representation of natural language phenomena is discussed, as well as the notions of “hermeneutic” and “revolutionary” approaches in logic-semantical analysis introduced by J. Burgess and G. Rosen. It is shown that the neodavidsonian approach with regard to verb phrases is an example of “revolutionary” approach because it changes the original logical structure of natural language sentences. The analysis of ontological commitments shows that there is no bound event variable in the logical structure of verb phrases at sentence level but it’s included in the internal semantic structure of a verb. The possible ways to the logical interpretation of the natural language mechanism of the dynamic shift between verb-based and nominalized sentences are outlined.

event semantics, ontological commitments, logical form, ontology of natural language

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DOI: 10.5840/eps201650475
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