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.