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  1. Alex Lascarides & N. Asher, Grounding and Correcting Commitments in Dialogue.
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  2. Nicholas Asher, Ambiguity and Anaphora with Plurals in Discourse.
    We provide examples of plurals related to ambiguity and anaphora that pose problems or are counterexamples for current approaches to plurals. We then propose a dynamic semantics based on an extension of dynamic predicate logic (DPL+) to handle these examples. On our theory, different readings of sentences or discourses containing plurals don’t arise from a postulated ambiguity of plural terms or predicates applying to plural DPs, but follow rather from different types of dynamic transitions that manipulate inputs and outputs from (...)
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  3. Nicholas Asher, Information Dependency in Quantificational Subordination.
    The purpose of this paper is to (a) show that the received view of the problem of quantificational subordination (QS) is incorrect, and that, consequently, existing solutions do not succeed in explaining the facts, and (b) provide a new account of QS. On the received view of QS within dynamic semantic frameworks, determiners treated as universal quantifiers (henceforth universal determiners) such as all, every, and each behave as barriers to inter-sentential anaphora yet allow anaphoric accessibility in a number of situations. (...)
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  4. Alex Lascarides & Nicholas Asher, The Interpretation of Questions in Dialogue.
    A semantic framework for interpreting dialogue should provide an account of the content that is mutually accepted by its participants. The acceptance by one agent of another’s contribution crucially involves the theory of what that contribution means; A’s acceptance of B’s contribution means that the content of B’s contribution must be integrated into A’s extant commitments.1 For assertions, traditionally assumed to express a proposition formalised as a set of possible worlds, it was clear how the integration should go: acceptance meant (...)
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  5. Francis Jeffry Pelletier & Nicholas Asher, Generics and Defaults.
    1: Linguistic and Epistemological Background 1 . 1 : Generic Reference vs. Generic Predication 1 . 2 : Why are there any Generic Sentences at all? 1 . 3 : Generics and Exceptions, Two Bad Attitudes 1 . 4 : Exceptions and Generics, Some Other Attitudes 1 . 5 : Generics and Intensionality 1 . 6 : Goals of an Analysis of Generic Sentences 1 . 7 : A Little Notation 1 . 8 : Generics vs. Explicit Statements of Regularities..
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  6. Nicholas Asher & James Pustejovsky (forthcoming). The Metaphysics of Words in Context. Journal of Logic, Language and Information.
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  7. A. Lascarides, E. J. Briscoe, N. Asher & A. Copestake (forthcoming). Persistent Associative Default Unification. Linguistics and Philosophy.
     
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  8. Nicholas Asher (2013). Temporal Modification. In Kasia M. Jaszczolt & Louis de Saussure (eds.), Time: Language, Cognition & Reality. Oup Oxford. 1--15.
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  9. Nicholas Asher (2012). Context in Content Composition. In Ruth M. Kempson, Tim Fernando & Nicholas Asher (eds.), Philosophy of Linguistics. North Holland. 229.
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  10. Nicholas Asher & Julie Hunter (2012). Aspectual Coercions in Content Composition. In L. Filipovic & K. M. Jaszczolt (eds.), Space and Time in Languages and Cultures: Language, Culture, and Cognition. John Benjamins. 55.
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  11. Ruth M. Kempson, Tim Fernando & Nicholas Asher (eds.) (2012). Philosophy of Linguistics. North Holland.
    This groundbreaking collection, the most thorough treatment of the philosophy of linguistics ever published, brings together philosophers, scientists and historians to map out both the foundational assumptions set during the second half of ...
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  12. Nicholas Asher (2011). Lexical Meaning in Context: A Web of Words. Cambridge University Press.
    This is a book about the meanings of words and how they can combine to form larger meaningful units, as well as how they can fail to combine when the ...
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  13. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (2011). Reasoning Dynamically About What One Says. Synthese 183 (S1):5-31.
    ’s glue logic for computing logical form dynamic. This allows us to model a dialogue agent’s understanding of what the update of the semantic representation of the dialogue would be after his next contribution, including the effects of the rhetorical moves that he is contemplating performing next. This is a pre-requisite for developing a model of how agents reason about what to say next. We make the glue logic dynamic by using a dynamic public announcement logic ( pal ). We (...)
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  14. Nicholas Asher, Josh Dever & Chris Pappas (2009). Supervaluations Debugged. Mind 118 (472):901-933.
    Supervaluational accounts of vagueness have come under assault from Timothy Williamson for failing to provide either a sufficiently classical logic or a disquotational notion of truth, and from Crispin Wright and others for incorporating a notion of higher-order vagueness, via the determinacy operator, which leads to contradiction when combined with intuitively appealing ‘gap principles’. We argue that these criticisms of supervaluation theory depend on giving supertruth an unnecessarily central role in that theory as the sole notion of truth, rather than (...)
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  15. A. Lascarides & N. Asher (2009). Agreement, Disputes and Commitments in Dialogue. Journal of Semantics 26 (2):109-158.
    This paper provides a logically precise analysis of agreement and disputes in dialogue. The semantics distinguishes among the public commitments of each dialogue agent, including commitments to relational speech acts or rhetorical relations (e.g. Narration, Explanation and Correction). Agreement is defined to be the shared entailments of the agents' public commitments. We show that this makes precise predictions about implicit agreement. The theory also provides a consistent interpretation of disputes and models what content is agreed upon when a dispute has (...)
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  16. N. Asher & E. McCready (2007). Were, Would, Might and a Compositional Account of Counterfactuals. Journal of Semantics 24 (2):93-129.
    This paper has two purposes. We first give a new dynamic account of epistemic modal operators that account for both their test-like behaviour with respect to whole information states and their capacity to induce quantificational dependencies across worlds (modal subordination). We then use this theory, together with an analysis of conditionals and irrealis moods, to give a fully compositional semantics of indicative and counterfactual conditionals. In our analysis, the distinction between counterfactual and indicative conditionals follows directly from the interaction between (...)
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  17. Nicholas Asher (2007). A Large View of Linguistic Content. Pragmatics and Cognition 15 (1):17-39.
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  18. Nicholas Asher (2007). Dynamic Discourse Semantics for Embedded Speech Acts. In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), John Searle's Philosophy of Language: Force, Meaning, and Mind. Cambridge University Press.
     
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  19. N. Asher (2006). Aspects of Things. Philosophical Issues: A Supplement to Nous 7:1-20.
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  20. Nicholas Asher (2006). Things and Their Aspects. Philosophical Issues 16 (1):1–23.
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  21. Mark Sainsbury, Cory Juhl, Nicholas Asher, Hans Halvorson, Lawrence Sklar & Jim Hankinson (2006). Tracy Lupher. In Borchert (ed.), Philosophy of Science. Macmillan. 164-202.
     
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  22. Nicholas Asher & Daniel Bonevac (2005). Free Choice Permission is Strong Permission. Synthese 145 (3):303 - 323.
    Free choice permission, a crucial test case concerning the semantics/ pragmatics boundary, usually receives a pragmatic treatment. But its pragmatic features follow from its semantics. We observe that free choice inferences are defeasible, and defend a semantics of free choice permission as strong permission expressed in terms of a modal conditional in a nonmonotonic logic.
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  23. Nicholas Asher & Brian Reese (2005). Negative Bias in Polar Questions. In. In Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.), Proceedings of Sub9. 30--43.
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  24. Nicholas Asher & Anthony Gillies (2003). Common Ground, Corrections, and Coordination. Argumentation 17 (4):481-512.
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  25. N. Asher (2001). Discourse Parallelism, Ellipsis, and Ambiguity. Journal of Semantics 18 (1):1-25.
    In this paper we combine a simple recovery mechanism for ellipsis with a general, discourse account of parallelism to account for a variety of phenomena concerning ellipsis, including Sag's wide scope puzzle and complex examples concerning sloppy identity. Our recovery mechanism requires an identity of logical structure between the recovered material and antecedent in the ellipsis. The recovered material and the antecedent are then interpreted independently in their respective contexts, subject only to the general discourse constraints on parallelism. These constraints (...)
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  26. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (2001). Indirect Speech Acts. Synthese 128 (1-2):183 - 228.
    In this paper, we address several puzzles concerning speech acts,particularly indirect speech acts. We show how a formal semantictheory of discourse interpretation can be used to define speech actsand to avoid murky issues concerning the metaphysics of action. Weprovide a formally precise definition of indirect speech acts, includingthe subclass of so-called conventionalized indirect speech acts. Thisanalysis draws heavily on parallels between phenomena at the speechact level and the lexical level. First, we argue that, just as co-predicationshows that some words can (...)
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  27. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (2001). 15 Metaphor in Discourse. In Pierrette Bouillon & Federica Busa (eds.), The Language of Word Meaning. Cambridge University Press. 262.
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  28. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (2001). The Semantics and Pragmatics of Metaphor. In Pierrette Bouillon & Federica Busa (eds.), The Language of Word Meaning. Cambridge University Press. 262--289.
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  29. Nicholas Asher & Yi Mao (2001). Negated Defaults in Commonsense Entailment. Bulletin of the Section of Logic 30 (1):41-60.
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  30. D. Hardt, N. Asher & J. Busquets (2001). Discourse Parallelism, Scope and Ellipsis. Journal of Semantics 18:1-16.
     
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  31. N. Asher (2000). Truth Conditional Discourse Semantics for Parentheticals. Journal of Semantics 17 (1):31-50.
    It has been often argued that parentheticals, discourse adverbials and certain parts of speech like interjections do not contribute to the truth conditional content of the assertions of which they are part. In this paper I argue that many of these constructions do contribute a truth conditional content, and I propose a semantics for parentheticals and discourse adverbials that treats these constructions similarly to SDRT's treatment of presuppositions. I also point out differences between standard presupposition triggers on the one hand (...)
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  32. Nicholas Asher (2000). Events, Facts, Propositions, and Evolutive Anaphora. In Achille Varzi, James Higginbotham & Fabio Pianesi (eds.), Speaking of Events. Oxford University Press. 123--150.
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  33. N. Asher (1998). Bridging. Journal of Semantics 15 (1):83-113.
    In this paper, we offer a novel analysis of bridging, paying particular attention to definite descriptions. We argue that extant theories don't do justice to the way different knowledge resources interact. In line with Hobbs (1979), we claim that the rhetorical connections between the propositions introduced in the text play an important part. But our work is distinct from his in that we model how this source of information interacts with compositional and lexical semantics. We formalize bridging in a framework (...)
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  34. N. Asher (1998). The Semantics and Pragmatics of Presupposition. Journal of Semantics 15 (3):239-300.
    In this paper, we offer a novel analysis of presuppositions, paying particular attention to the interaction between the knowledge resources that are required to The analysis has two main features. First, we capture an analogy between presuppositions, anaphora and scope ambiguity (cf. van der Sandt 1992), by utilizing semantic under-specification (c£ Reyle 1993). Second, resolving this underspecification requires reasoning about how the presupposition is rhetorically connected to the discourse context. This has several consequences. First, since pragmatic information plays a role (...)
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  35. Nicholas& Lascarides Asher (1998). Alex," Bridging. Journal of Semantics 15:1.
     
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  36. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (1998). Bridging. Journal of Semantics 15 (1):83-113.
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  37. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (1998). Questions in Dialogue. Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (3):237-309.
    In this paper we explore how compositional semantics, discourse structure, and the cognitive states of participants all contribute to pragmatic constraints on answers to questions in dialogue. We synthesise formal semantic theories on questions and answers with techniques for discourse interpretation familiar from computational linguistics, and show how this provides richer constraints on responses in dialogue than either component can achieve alone.
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  38. Nicholas Asher & Daniel Bonevac (1996). Prima Facie Obligation. Studia Logica 57 (1):19-45.
    This paper presents a nonmonotonic deontic logic based on commonsense entailment. It establishes criteria a successful account of obligation should satisfy, and develops a theory that satisfies them. The theory includes two conditional notions of prima facie obligation. One is constitutive; the other is epistemic, and follows nonmonotonically from the constitutive notion. The paper defines unconditional notions of prima facie obligation in terms of the conditional notions.
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  39. A. E. Goldberg, M. Haith, J. Benson, R. J. Roberts Jr, B. F. Pennington, W. Sinnott-Armstrong, D. Raffman, N. Asher, F. Karlsson & A. Voutilainen (1996). RH Logie, Visuo-Spatial Working Memory. Hillsdale, NJ: LEA. FN Dempster & CJ Brainerd, Interference and Inhibition in Cognition. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. TC Daddesio, On Minds and Symbols. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. R. McClamrock, Existential Cognition. Chicago: Chicago University Press. [REVIEW] Cognition 59:241-243.
     
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  40. Alex Lascarides, Ted Briscoe, Nicholas Asher & Ann Copestake (1996). Order Independent and Persistent Typed Default Unification. Linguistics and Philosophy 19 (1):1 - 90.
    We define an order independent version of default unification on typed feature structures. The operation is one where default information in a feature structure typed with a more specific type, will override default information in a feature structure typed with a more general type, where specificity is defined by the subtyping relation in the type hierarchy. The operation is also able to handle feature structures where reentrancies are default. We provide a formal semantics, prove order independence and demonstrate the utility (...)
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  41. Nicholas Asher & Alex Lascarides (1995). Lexical Disambiguation in a Discourse Context. Journal of Semantics 12 (1):69-108.
    In this paper we investigate how discourse structure affects the meanings of words, and how the meanings of words affect discourse structure. We integrate three ingredients: a theory of discourse structure called SDRT, which represents discourse in terms of rhetorical relations that glue together the propositions introduced by the text segments; an accompanying theory of discourse attachment called DICE, which computes which rhetorical relations hold between the constituents, on the basis of the reader's background information; and a formal language for (...)
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  42. Nicholas Asher & Pierre Sablayrolles (1995). A Typology and Discourse Semantics for Motion Verbs and Spatial PPs in French. Journal of Semantics 12 (2):163-209.
    In this paper we offer a semantic study of motion verbs and motion verb complexes determined by motion verbs and spatial prepositional phrase adjuncts. We propose a classification of motion verbs and of motion verb complexes. Unlike other semantic or syntactic studies, we build up the spatioremporal semantic properties of motion verb complexes compositionally, on the basis of the semantic properties of the verbs, their arguments and adjuncts. We show how to combine this lexical information with discourse information to determine (...)
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  43. Ruth Barcan Marcus, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Diana Raffman & Nicholas Asher (eds.) (1995). Modality, Morality, and Belief: Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus. Cambridge University Press.
    Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
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  44. Martin Stokhof, Dorit Abusch, Ju D. Apresjan, Nicholas Asher, David Auerbach, Kent Bach, Mark Baltin, Chris Barker, Stephen Barker & Ellen Barton (1995). William Rounds Scott Soames. Linguistics and Philosophy 18:687-688.
     
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  45. Nicholas Asher (1994). Problems with Persistence. Topoi 13 (1):37-49.
    A fundamental question in reasoning about change is, what information does a reasoning agent infer about later times from earlier times? I will argue that reasoning about change by an agent is to be modeled in terms of the persistence of the agent''s beliefs over time rather than the persistence of truth and that such persistence is explained by pragmatic factors about how agents acquire information from other agents rather than by general principles of persistence about states of the world. (...)
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  46. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Diana Raffman & Nicholas Asher (eds.) (1994). Modality, Morality and Belief. Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus. Cambridge University Press.
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  47. Alex Lascarides & Nicholas Asher (1993). Temporal Interpretation, Discourse Relations and Commonsense Entailment. Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (5):437 - 493.
    This paper presents a formal account of how to determine the discourse relations between propositions introduced in a text, and the relations between the events they describe. The distinct natural interpretations of texts with similar syntax are explained in terms of defeasible rules. These characterise the effects of causal knowledge and knowledge of language use on interpretation. Patterns of defeasible entailment that are supported by the logic in which the theory is expressed are shown to underly temporal interpretation.
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  48. Munindar P. Singh & Nicholas M. Asher (1993). A Logic of Intentions and Beliefs. Journal of Philosophical Logic 22 (5):513 - 544.
    Intentions are an important concept in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. We present a formal theory of intentions and beliefs based on Discourse Representation Theory that captures many of their important logical properties. Unlike possible worlds approaches, this theory does not assume that agents are perfect reasoners, and gives a realistic view of their internal architecture; unlike most representational approaches, it has an objective semantics, and does not rely on an ad hoc labeling of the internal states of agents. We (...)
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  49. Barbara Abbott, Nicholas Asher, Jay Atlas, Kent Bach, Chris Barker, Stephen Barker, Renate Bartsch, Jonathan Bennett, Steven Borr & David Braun (1992). Linguistics Managing Editor. Linguistics and Philosophy 15:679-680.
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  50. Nicholas Asher (1992). A Default, Truth Conditional Semantics for the Progressive. Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (5):463 - 508.
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