Formal languages are widely regarded as being above all mathematical objects and as producing a greater level of precision and technical complexity in logical investigations because of this. Yet defining formal languages exclusively in this way offers only a partial and limited explanation of the impact which their use (and the uses of formalisms more generally elsewhere) actually has. In this book, Catarina Dutilh Novaes adopts a much wider conception of formal languages so as to investigate more broadly what exactly is going on when theorists put these tools to use. She looks at the history and philosophy of formal languages and focuses on the cognitive impact of formal languages on human reasoning, drawing on their historical development, psychology, cognitive science and philosophy. Her wide-ranging study will be valuable for both students and researchers in philosophy, logic, psychology and cognitive and computer science.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 284
Weight: 380 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
'Since the rise of logical empiricism, formal languages have become essential tools of doing philosophy. But why does formalization work? And what are its limitations? This book fills a crucial gap in the literature by addressing these questions from a cognitive, historical, and logical point of view. I recommend it to formal philosophers, critics of formal philosophy, and everyone with an interest in the techniques of conceptual engineering per se.' Hannes Leitgeb, Ludwig Maximilians Universitat Munich
"What does formalisation do for us? Here is an author who dares to attempt answers right across the disciplines of logic and philosophy and their histories, as well as cognitive science. She may set out from logic and mathematics, but what she has to say she is relevant to anyone who has ever wondered about natural language as the originating formalisation."
--Keith Stenning, University of Edinburgh