Logic in natural language: Commitments and constraints

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In his new book, Logical Form, Andrea Iacona distinguishes between two different roles that have been ascribed to the notion of logical form: the logical role and the semantic role. These two roles entail a bifurcation of the notion of logical form. Both notions of logical form, according to Iacona, are descriptive, having to do with different features of natural language sentences. I agree that the notion of logical form bifurcates, but not that the logical role is merely descriptive. In this paper, I focus on formalization, a process by which logical form, on its logical role, is attributed to natural language sentences. According to some, formalization is a form of explication, and it involves normative, pragmatic, as well as creative aspects. I present a view by which formalization involves explicit commitments on behalf of a reasoner or an interpreter, which serve the normative grounds for the evaluation of a given text. In previous work, I proposed the framework of semantic constraints for the explication of logical consequence. Here, I extend the framework to include formalization constraints. The various constraints then serve the role of commitments. I discuss specific issues raised by Iacona concerning univocality, co-reference and equivocation, and I show how our views on these matters diverge as a result of our different starting assumptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-308
Number of pages32
Issue number58
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Sagi. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License


  • Formalization
  • Logical consequence
  • Logical form
  • Normativity of logic
  • Semantic constraints
  • normativity of logic
  • logical consequence
  • logical form
  • semantic constraints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Logic in natural language: Commitments and constraints'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this