Logical Form: Classical Conception and Recent Challenges



The term “logical form” has been called on to serve a wide range of purposes in philosophy, and it would be too ambitious to try to survey all of them in a single essay. Instead, I will focus on just one conception of logical form that has occupied a central place in the philosophy of language, and in particular in the philosophical study of linguistic meaning. This is what I will call the classical conception of logical form. The classical conception, as I will present it in section 1, has (either explicitly or implicitly) shaped a great deal of important philosophical work in semantic theory. But it has come under fire in recent decades, and in sections 2 and 3 I will discuss two of the recent challenges that I take to be most interesting and significant.