[Review of the book Everything Linguists Have Always Wanted to Know About Logic, by JcCawley]

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  • Introduction: James McCawley is a noted linguist whose concern with semantic matters in dealing with linguistic issues is well-known amongst philosophers of language. McCawley's goal here was to write a textbook that surveyed all those areas of logic he thinks are potentially of use in analyzing natural language. By this he includes 'not only \"basic\" areas of logic, but areas such as presuppositional logic and fuzzy logic that are usually ignored in elementary logic courses.' It gives 'heavy emphasis to considerations of the analysis of natural language,' and is 'especially aimed at advanced undergaduate and first year graduate linguistic majors.' It hterefore presupposes some knowledge of elementary transformational linguistics (but less than might be supposed from McCawley's introduction - most upper level philosophy students could follow the discussions). As McCawley conceives a course in elementary logic, it should concentrate on those issue which in other textbooks have been lumped together and treated as issues of 'translation into logical notation.' But on the other hand, this is a first course in logic; thus another thrust of the book is to make students conversant enough in elementary logic to allow them to continue in mainstream logic should they desire it. The book is weak in this latter task, since it does not treat the standard issues in a standard manner. As McCawley notes, his students, even the good ones, will never be able to pass as native speakers of standard logic.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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    • Pelletier, F.J. (1983). [Review of the book Everything Linguists Have Always Wanted to Know About Logic, by J. McCawley]. Canadian Philosophical Reviews, 3(2), 85-87.
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