Workshop on Mathematical Models of Context
The workshop on Mathematical Models of Context in Natural Language Processing will take place on April 20th, 2018 and will feature keynote talks by Luca Incurvati (Amsterdam), Alex Lascarides (Edinburgh) and Matthew Stone (Rutgers).
The workshop is associated with the PhD defence of Julian Schlöder, which will take place on April 20th, 12 noon in the Agnietenkapel.
This workshop is financially supported by the ILLC and an incidentele NWO-steun grant.
OMHP (Oudemanhuispoort), Room E2.01
15:00 - 15:40
In this talk, I present inferential expressivism, a novel approach to semantics which brings together elements of the inferentialist and expressivist programmes in the theory of meaning. Inferential expressivism retains the insights and attractive features of traditional forms of expressivism and inferentialism whilst overcoming their main problems, namely the Frege-Geach problem and the problem of accounting for more than the core logical operators. In addition, inferential expressivism provides the resources to resist arguments for revising classical logic in both philosophical logic and natural language semantics.
For this festive event, I will show how the work Julian and I have carried out together provides examples of applications of this research programme, and I will indicate directions for future applications. If time permits, I will also comment on (i) hypotheses about the emergence of certain embeddable operators to which inferential expressivism naturally leads and (ii) inferential expressivism's position within the debate between truth-conditional and dynamic approaches to meaning.
15:40 - 16:20
This presentation is based on joint research with Julie Hunter and Nicholas Asher.
While linguists and philosophers have sought to model the various ways
in which the meaning of what we say can depend on the nonlinguistic
context, this work has by and large focused on how the nonlinguistic
context can be exploited to ground or anchor referential or otherwise
context-sensitive expressions. In this talk, I'll focus on examples in
which nonlinguistic events contribute entire discourse units that
serve as arguments to coherence relations, without the mediation of
context-sensitive expressions. I'll use both naturally occurring and
constructed examples to highlight these interactions and to argue that
extant coherence-based accounts of discourse should be extended to
model them. I'll also argue that extending coherence-based accounts in
this way is a nontrivial task. It forces us to reassess basic notions
of the nonlinguistic context and rhetorical relations as well as
models of discourse structure, evolution and interpretation.
16:20 - 16:40
16:40 - 17:20
This presentation is based on joint research with Ernie Lepore.
I contest the traditional view of indirection in utterances such as, ‘Can you pass the salt?’ by developing a very different way of characterizing the interpretations involved: on its usual interpretation, I argue, an utterance of (1) first raises the question whether the addressee can pass the salt and second expresses a preference, in the case that the answer is ‘yes’, that the addressee do so. This move feels indirect, I suggest, because of the weak commitment it imposes on the speaker and the flexible responses it affords the addressee. So understood, there is no presumption that indirect meanings involve the pragmatic derivation of enriched contents from a literal interpretation; rather, I argue that indirect meanings are explicitly encoded in grammar. I make the idea precise by building on recent work on formalizing declarative, interrogative, and imperative meanings as distinct but compatible kinds of content.