Two Winners of the 2024 Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy


The Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy, sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of philosophy, was jointly awarded this year to Hans Kamp, professor of formal logics and philosophy of language at the University of Stuttgart, and Irene Heim, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They received the prize particularly “for (mutually independent) conception and early development of dynamic semantics for natural language.”

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Schock Foundation award the prize. They write:

Natural languages are highly context-dependent—how a sentence is interpreted often depends on the situation, but also on what has been uttered before. In one type of case, a pronoun depends on an earlier phrase in a separate clause. In the mid-1970s, some constructions of this type posed a hard problem for formal semantic theory.

Around 1980, Hans Kamp and Irene Heim each separately developed very similar solutions to this problem. Their theories brought far-reaching changes in the field. Both introduced a new level of representation between the linguistic expression and its worldly interpretation and, in both, this level has a new type of linguistic meaning. Instead of the traditional idea that a clause describes a worldly condition, meaning at this level consists in the way it contributes to updating information. Based on these fundamentally new ideas, the theories provide adequate interpretations of the problematic constructions.

The prize is 600,000 Swedish kronor (approximately $58,000), which will be split between the two winners.

You can learn more about the Schock Prizes here and see a list of previous winners here.

NOTE: The prize amount was incorrectly stated as 400,000 SEK in the original version of this post. It has now been corrected.

Use innovative tools to teach clear and courageous thinking
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Graham White
1 month ago

Wonderful, especially because people with this combination of interests (philosophy and technical semantics) are very often ignored by both of these communities.

Johann Schumann
Johann Schumann
Reply to  Graham White
1 month ago

Wow that took a long time. I referred to this in my 1986 thesis which implemented. Logical semantics in Prolog. By that time it was outdated and superceded already. We had better methods then.

A Swede
A Swede
1 month ago

Boring comment, and I apologize in advance for it, but FYI: “Kroners”, as you are spelling the currency, is not a word in Swedish.

The Swedish currency is called “krona” (singular) or “kronor” (plural). In this case, the winners receive 600 000 kronor. The word shouldn’t be capitalized in standard Swedish grammar either.

Sorry again for pettiness. I just figured the Daily Nous is so widely read these days that getting the details right matters.

Another Swede
Another Swede
Reply to  A Swede
1 month ago

Alternatively, you can say “600 lax” (or simply “bara para”, if you don’t care about the exact sum).

The First Swede
The First Swede
Reply to  Another Swede
1 month ago

Yes 🙂