Podcasting with Hans Kamp

ImageHans Kamp is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also an established researcher at the Institute for Natural Languages in Stuttgart.

After listening to the podcast interview a number of times, I found this interview to be a very difficult subject to blog on.  I believe that I have an understanding of who Hans Kamp is, what he does, and what formal semantics is, but the podcast seemed  somewhat dry to me. The verbal communication was hard to comprehend. It almost seemed as if they were too close to the microphone.  It might have been better for the interviewer, Matt Teichman, to use another format of interviewing Hans Kamp other than Podcasting. In my opinion the podcast is in dire need of visuals or subtitles for better comprehension.

I found myself trying to research on the matter with the anticipation in finding something that included subtitles or a visualization of the interview itself. I even tried the website address that was announced during the podcast, but found that to be a dead end as well. However difficult this podcast was to hear and understand I did note that formal semantics explains how the meaning of a sentence feeds on the words within the sentence itself.  Hans’ examples gave a better understanding of Semantics as a whole

“John and Mary got married”.

“John and Mary both got married”.

Both of the above examples imply that John and Mary got married, but the question stands as to if they got married to each other. Not including the word both insures the reader that John and Mary were married to each other. Including the word, “both” could imply they were both married but not necessarily to each other.

The traditional thought of philosophers has been taken to a formal level with Hans Kamp. His new idea is called discourse representation theory is a way of transforming conversational context to the level of simplicity.


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