Optimality theory as a family of cumulative logics

We investigate two formalizations of Optimality Theory, a successful paradigm in linguistics.We first give an order-theoretic counterpart for the data and processinvolved in candidate evaluation.Basically, we represent each constraint as a function that assigns every candidate a degree of violation.As for the second formalization, we define (after Samek-Lodovici and Prince) constraints as operations that select the best candidates out of a set of candidates.We prove that these two formalizations are equivalent (accordingly, there is no loss of generality with using violation marks and dispensing with them is only apparent).Importantly, we show that the second formalization is equivalent with a class of operations over sets of formulas in a given logical language.As a result, we prove that Optimality Theory can be characterized by certain cumulative logics.So, applying Optimality Theory is shown to be reasoning by the rules of cumulative logics.
Keywords cumulative logics  non-monotonic logics  Optimality Theory
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DOI 10.1023/A:1022362118915
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