Biographie en anglais

Hans Kamp was born not long after the outbreak of World War II in the Netherlands, where he grew up and got most of his education, including an undergraduate degree in Physics and Mathematics (Leiden University) and a Masters (drs.) degree in Logic and Philosophy of Science (University of Amsterdam). At the age of 25, he moved to the US to do a doctorate at UCLA under Richard Montague. The topic of his doctoral dissertation was the functional completeness of the binary temporal operators Since and Until.

After obtaining his PhD, Kamp held academic positions in the USA, the Netherlands, the UK and finally at the University of Stuttgart in Germany until his retirement in 2008. Since then he has been a visiting professor in the Departments of Linguistics and Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin. He has retained Stuttgart as his home base, moving to Austin only when teaching there.

In the course of his academic career, the center of gravity of Kamp’s work has gradually shifted from traditional concerns of symbolic logic to the formal semantics and pragmatics of human languages. His overarching interest for the past four decades has been the relation between meaning and linguistic form: What rules do listeners and readers apply when they extract the content of what they hear or read and how do they represent the extracted content in a form that they can make use of in their further thought processes?

Early attempts to come to grips with this problem crystallized into the framework of DRT (“Discourse Representation Theory”; see: “A Theory of Truth and Semantic Representation” (1981), “Événements, Représentations Discursives et Référence Temporelle” (1981). Over the years, DRT has been modified and extended in various directions. The extension that Kamp himself has been using in much of his recent work is MSDRT (“Mental State Discourse Representation Theory”; see: “Using Proper Names as Intermediaries between Labelled Entity Representations” (2016), “Sharing Real and Fictional Reference” (2021), “The Links of Causal Chains” (2022)). MSDRT provides an explicit representation format for mental states. These mental state representations were developed in the service of a formal semantics of attitude attributions; but they can be used to characterize the mental states of speakers/authors and listeners/readers in a novel communication-based framework for the analysis of the meaning and use of linguistic expressions generally.

Often cited works not mentioned above: “Formal Properties of `Now´” (1981), “Free Choice Permission” (1974), “The Paradox of the Heap” (1978), “Events, Instants and Temporal Reference” (1979), “Tense in Texts” (1983, with Chr. Rohrer), “From Discourse to Logic” (1993, with U. Reyle), “Prototype Theory and Compositionality” (1995, with B. Partee).

Kamp was awarded a Max-Planck-Forschungspreis in 1992 (jointly with B. Partee) and the Jean Nicod Prize in 1996. He is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (1997), A Corresponding member (retired) of the Royal Dutch Academy of Science (1997), a member of the Academia Europea (2006) and an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2015). He holds honorary doctorates from Tilburg University (1987) and the Université de Lorraine (2014).