The aim of this thesis is to examine several aspects of
situation semantics and to evaluate the contribution which the theory
makes to our understanding of language, in particular whether it
brings us nearer to a solution of some traditional puzzles with
The presentation is in three parts. The first part, comprising
chapters one and two, consists of a general introduction to the
issues involved and tackles the question of where situation semantics
places the boundary between semantics and pragmatics. The second and
main part, chapters three to six, is devoted to demonstrating the
language- dependent status of abstract situations. The
interpretations of expressions and the role of the setting in
composition are analysed in chapter three. In chapter four I consider Russell's views on propositions and the Russellian semantics
Richards has given. Chapter five examines in detail the suggestion
of chapter three that the level of abstract situations is not
independent of language, recasts situation semantics accordingly as an interpreted language, and lastly considers an extension of
situation semantics to include molecular facts. In chapter six
situation semantics is related to direct reference semantics.
Finally, chapters seven and eight treat attitude reports, analysing
firstly the ingredients of Barwise and Perry's approach to the
semantics of the attitudes, and secondly setting out some traditional
puzzles and considering how situation semantics deals with them.
The goal throughout is to clarify and understand what the ideas
and insights behind situation semantics are and to determine their
importance for semantic theory.