Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Festschrift for Martin Stokhof

(Cross-posted at New APPS)

In my years working at the ILLC in Amsterdam (2007-2011), I was fortunate to have Martin Stokhof as my mentor (I always referred to him as my ‘boss’, which he found very strange). Martin is one of the best philosophers and nicest persons I know, and as he turned 60 last year, together with Jaap van der Does, we decided to put together a Festschrift to honor his accomplishments. Yesterday, the official launch of the Festschrift took place, during the Amsterdam Colloquium; it is a web-based-only, open source volume, with a unique printed version (for Martin himself, naturally).

Martin is perhaps best known for his work on the semantics of questions and on dynamic predicate logic, both in collaboration with Jeroen Groenendijk. But Martin is deep down a philosopher much more than a formal semanticist, and in recent years his focus has been predominantly on philosophical topics, in particular Wittgenstein. He has a wonderful book on the early Wittgenstein, World and Life as One: Ethics and Ontology in Wittgenstein's Early Thought (Stanford University Press, 2002). Moreover, he has written insightful and rather critical articles on the philosophical foundations of formal semantics; more generally, he has focused on the methodology of using formal tools for investigating language as a whole, and on the connections between formal and natural languages (I like very much in particular 'Hand or hammer? On formal and natural languages in semantics'). As well put by Barbara Partee in her contribution,

Martin has been addressing [...] foundational problems increasingly in recent years - I’m not always happy to hear his conclusions, but his work is important and valuable, and since he is a semantics insider, he can write critically about formal semantics in a way that semanticists can and must take seriously.

The Festschrift reflects Martin’s wide interests, and contains a range of papers worth reading on their own (i.e. even by those who do not have special connections with his work). A few of them are in Dutch, but the wide majority is in English. By the way, Johan van Benthem’s article was my main source of inspiration for a blog post of a few months back, and now I can finally disclose the source of the quote there!

Here is the table of contents, and here is the link to the Festschrift again.

Albert Visser: Context Modification in Action

Barbara H. Partee: For Martin - Much to Celebrate!

Catarina Dutilh Novaes: Notations in Logic

Chantal Bax: Guiding or Drilling?

Edgar Andrade-Lotero: From Formalization to Philosophical Reflection

Frank Veltman: An Appendix to DPL

Frans Jacobs: Domheid

Fred Landman: Boolean Pragmatics

Göran Sundholm: Some Coherentist Strands in Wittgenstein's Tractatus

Jaap van der Does: Philosophical Interactions

Jan van Eijck: A Conversation with Wittgenstein

Jeroen Groenendijk: Erotetic Languages and the Inquistive Hierarchy

Johan van Benthem: The Dynamic World of Martin Stokhof

Michiel van Lambalgen: Tractatus on Time

Paul Dekker: De Waarheid over de Waarheid

Rob van der Sandt: De Asceet en de Kerkvader

Robert van Rooij: The Paradoxical Wittgensteinian

Tine Wilde: This is not a Festschrift

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