Context as a social construct

This position paper argues that in addition to the familiar approach using formal contexts, there is now a need in AI to study contexts as social constructs. As a successful example of the latter approach, I draw attention to `interpretation' (in the sense of literary theory), viz. the reconstruction of intended meaning of a literary text that takes into account the context in which the author assumed the reader would place the text. An important contribution here comes from Harris (1988), enumerating the seven crucial dimensions of context: knowledge of reality, knowledge of language, and the authorial, generic, collective, specific, and textual dimensions. Finally, two thought-provoking papers in interpretation, (Barwise 1989) and (Hobbs 1990), are analyzed as useful attempts which also come to grips with the notion of context.
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