Report Number: CS-TR-72-289
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Lakoff on linguistics and natural logic.
Author: Wilks, Yorick A.
Date: June 1972
Abstract: The paper examines and criticises Lakoff's notions of a natural logic and of a generative semantics described in terms of logic. I argue that the relationship of these notions to logic as normally understood is unclear, but I suggest, in the course of the paper, a number of possible interpretations of his thesis of generative semantics. I argue further that on these interpretations the thesis (of Generative Semantics) is false, unless it be taken as a mere notational variant of Chomskyan theory. I argue, too, that Lakoff's work may provide a service in that it constitutes a reductio ad absurdum of the derivational paradigm of modern linguistics; and shows, inadvertently, that only a system with the ability to reconsider its own inferences can do the job that Lakoff sets up for linguistic enquiry -- that is to say, only an "artificial intelligence" system.