Heim 1983 suggested that the analysis of presupposition projection requires that the classical notion of meanings as truth conditions be replaced with a dynamic notion of meanings as Context Change Potentials. But as several researchers (including Heim herself) later noted, the dynamic framework is insufficiently predictive: although it allows one to state that, say, the dynamic effect of F and G is to first update a Context Set C with F and then with G (i.e., C[F and (...) G] = C[F][G]), it fails to explain why there couldn’t be a ‘deviant’ conjunction and* which performed these operations in the opposite order (i.e., C[F and* G] = C[G][F]). We provide a formal introduction to a competing framework, the Transparency theory, which addresses this problem. Unlike dynamicsemantics, our analysis is fully classical, i.e., bivalent and static. And it derives the projective behavior of connectives from their bivalent meaning and their syntax. We concentrate on the formal properties of a simple version of the theory, and we prove that (i) full equivalence with Heim’s results is guaranteed in the propositional case (Theorem 1), and that (ii) the equivalence can be extended to the quantificational case (for any generalized quantifiers), but only when certain conditions are met (Theorem 2). (shrink)
Within natural language semantics, pronouns are often thought to correspond to variables whose values are contributed by contextual assignment functions. This paper concerns the application of this idea to cases where the antecedent of a pronoun is a plural quantifiers. The paper discusses the modelling of accessibility patterns of quantifier antecedents in a dynamic theory of interpretation. The goal is to reach a semantics of quantificational dependency which yields a fully semantic notion of pronominal accessibility. I argue (...) that certain dependency phenomena that arise in quantificationally created contexts require a representation of context wherein the labelling of antecedents is not rigid but rather dynamic itself. I propose a stack-based alternative to classic assignment functions, along the lines of Vermeulen (1993) and van Eijck (2001), and give a dynamicsemantics of quantification which correctly accommodates the problematic anaphoric phenomena. (shrink)
In their target article, Wang and Busemeyer (2013) discuss question order effects in terms of incompatible projectors on a Hilbert space. In a similar vein, Blutner recently presented an orthoalgebraic query language essentially relying on dynamic update semantics. Here, I shall comment on some interesting analogies between the different variants of dynamicsemantics and generalized quantum theory to illustrate other kinds of order effects in human cognition, such as belief revision, the resolution of anaphors, and default (...) reasoning that result from the crucial non-commutativity of mental operations upon the belief state of a cognitive agent. (shrink)
In this paper a semantics for dynamic predicate logic is developed that uses sequence valued assignments. This semantics is compared with the usual relational semantics for dynamic predicate logic: it is shown that the most important intuitions of the usual semantics are preserved. Then it is shown that the refined semantics reflects out intuitions about information growth. Some other issues in dynamicsemantics are formulated and discussed in terms of the new (...) sequence semantics. (shrink)
Dynamic and proof-conditional approaches to discourse (exemplified by Discourse Representation Theory and Type-Theoretical Grammar, respectively) are related through translations and transitions labeled by first-order formulas with anaphoric twists. Type-theoretic contexts are defined relative to a signature and instantiated modeltheoretically, subject to change.
Dynamic Predicate Logic (DPL) is a variant of Predicate Logic introduced by Groenendijk and Stokhof. One rationale behind the introduction of DPL is that it is closer to Natural Language than ordinary Predicate Logic in the way it treats scope. In this paper I develop some variants of DPL that can more easily approximate Natural Language in some further aspects. Specifically I add flexibility in the treatment of polarity and and some further flexibility in the treatment of scope.
This is the text of my comments on the project of dynamicsemantics for the session on that topic at the Central Division APA meeting on April 21, 2007. The other speakers were Jeroen Groenendijk, Frank Veltman and Thony Gillies. I question the philosophical basis for dynamicsemantics. My doubts have to do with the nature of information states and the norms of semantics. I also question the data that inspire the project. In particular, I (...) question the data concerning presupposition and the data concerning modal operators and conditionals. (shrink)
This paper is an informal introduction to some aspects of dynamicsemantics. It is a compilation of earlier reports on joint work with Frank Veltman. The opening section can also be found in Groenendijk et al. 1996a. Section 3 is drawn from Groenendijk et al. 1995a. Some of the discussion in section 4 derives from Groenendijk et al. 1996c.
The problem of negative existentials arises because utterances of such sentences have the paradoxical feature of denying what they presuppose, thus undermining their own truth. There are only two general strategies for solving the problem within the constraints traditional static semantics, and both strategies attempt to explain away this paradoxical feature. I argue that both strategies are fundamentally flawed, and that an adequate account of negative existentials must countenance, and not explain away, this paradoxical feature. Moreover, I argue that (...) a framework of dynamicsemantics can achieve this result. Thus negative existentials provide a case in support of dynamicsemantics. (shrink)
Semantic realism fits Millikan's account of kind terms in its focus on information-theoretic abilities and strategic ways of gathering information in human communication. Instead of the traditional logical necessity, we should interpret rigid designation in a dynamicsemantics as a legislative act to constrain possible ways in which our belief may change.
In 1972,Ernst Ulrich and Christine von Weizs ¨acker introduced the concept of pragmatic information with three desiderata:(i) Pragmatic information should assess the impact of a message upon its receiver;(ii)Pragmatic information should vanish in the limits of complete (non-interpretable)'novelty 'and complete 'confirmation';(iii)Pragmatic information should exhibit non-classical properties since novelty and confirmation behave similarly to Fourier pairs of complementary operators in quantum mechanics. It will be shown how these three desiderata can be naturally fulfilled within the framework of Gardenfors' dynamic (...) class='Hi'>semantics of Bayesian belief models.(i)The meaning of a message is its impact upon the epistemic states of a cognitive agent. A pragmatic information measure can then be quanti .ed by the average information gain for the transition from a prior to a posterior state.(ii)Total novelty can be represented by the identical proposition, total con- .rmation by the logical consequence of propositions. In both cases, pragmatic information vanishes.(iii)For operators that are neither idempotent nor commuting, novelty and confirmation relative to a message sequence can be defined within Gardenfors' theory of belief revisions.The proposed approach is consistent with measures of relevance derived from statistical decision theory and it contains Bar-Hillel 's and Carnap's theory of semantic information as a special case. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that anaphoric pronouns should always be interpreted exhaustively. I propose that pronouns are either used referentially and refer to the speaker's referents of their antecedent indefinites, or descriptively and go proxy for the description recoverable from its antecedent clause. I show how this view can be implemented within a dynamicsemantics, and how it can account for various examples that seemed to be problematic for the view that for all unbound pronouns there always (...) should be a notion of exhaustivity/uniqueness involved. The uniqueness assumption for the use of singular pronouns is also shown to be importantto explain what the discourse referents used in dynamicsemantics represent. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that anaphoric pronouns should always be interpreted exhaustively. I propose that pronouns are either used referentially and refer to the speaker's referents of their antecedent indefinites, or descriptively and go proxy for the description recoverable from its antecedent clause. I show how this view can be implemented within a dynamicsemantics, and how it can account for various examples that seemed to be problematic for the view that for all unbound pronouns there always (...) should be a notion of exhaustivity/uniqueness involved. The uniqueness assumption for the use of singular pronouns is also shown to be important to explain what the discourse referents used in dynamicsemantics represent. (shrink)
Semantic realism fits Millikan's account of kind terms in its focus on information-theoretic abilities and strategic ways of gathering information in human communication. Instead of the traditional logical necessity, we should interpret rigid designation in a dynamicsemantics as a legislative act to constrain possible ways in which our belief may change.
It is widely agreed that sentences containing a non-denoting description embedded in the scope of a propositional attitude verb have true de dicto interpretations, and Russell's (1905) analysis of definite descriptions is often praised for its simple analysis of such cases, cf. e.g. Neale (1990). However, several people, incl. Elbourne (2005, 2009), Heim (1991), and Kripke (2005), have contested this by arguing that Russell's analysis yields incorrect predictions in non-doxastic attitude contexts. Heim and Elbourne have subsequently argued that once certain (...) facts about presupposition projection are fully appreciated, the Frege/Strawson analysis of definite descriptions has an explanatory advantage. In this paper, I argue that both Russell's analysis and the Frege/Strawson analysis face a serious problem when it comes to the interaction of attitude verbs and definite descriptions. I argue that the problem observed by Elbourne, Heim, and Kripke is much more general than standardly assumed and that a solution requires a revision of the semantics of definite and indefinite descriptions. I outline the conditions that are required to solve the problem and present an analysis couched in dynamicsemantics which can provide a solution. I conclude by discussing some further issues related to propositional attitude verbs that complicate a fully general solution to the problem. (shrink)
This article points out problems in current dynamic treatments of anaphora and provides a new account that solves these by grafting Muskens' Compositional Discourse Representation Theory onto a partial theory of types. Partiality is exploited to keep track of which discourse referents have been introduced in the text (thus avoiding the overwrite problem) and to account for cases of anaphoric failure. Another key assumption is that the set of discourse referents is well-ordered, so that we can keep track of (...) the order in which they have been introduced, allowing a semantic characterization of anaphoric accessibility across stretches of discourse. Unlike other dynamic approaches, the system defines semantic values for unresolved anaphors. This leads to a clear separation of monotonic and non-monotonic content (in this case anaphoric resolution) and arguably provides a sound basis for a non-monotonic theory of anaphoric resolution. (shrink)
In this paper I will be concerned with the question of the extent to which semantics can be thought of as a purely formal exercise, which we can engage in in a way that is neutral with respect to how our formal system is to be interpreted. I will be arguing, to the contrary, that the features of the formal systems which we use to do semantics are closely linked, in several different ways, to the interpretation that we (...) give to those formal systems. The occasion for this question, and the main example that I will use to illustrate my answer to it, is the close relationship between the formal systems employed in recent statements of apparently competing accounts of epistemic modals with the dynamic, expressivist, and relativist theoretical paradigms. The structure of the paper will be straightforward. In part 1, I will briefly introduce four theories of epistemic modals – one dynamic theory, two expressivist theories, and one relativist theory. Then in part 2 I’ll show that one expressivist theory is formally equivalent to the dynamic theory, that the other is formally equivalent to the relativist theory, and that the two expressivist theories are themselves essentially notational variants. I’ll use these facts to pose our central question: if these theories have so much formally in common, then doesn’t that suggest that we can separate the task of constructing a formal semantics from the task of deciding between competing interpretations of it? Finally, in part 3 I’ll answer that question in the negative. There are at least three reasons why formal semantics cannot be separated from questions of interpretation that are illustrated by the theories I introduce in part 1. (shrink)
Context figures in the interpretation of utterances in many different ways. In the tradition of possible-worlds semantics, the seminal account of context-sensitive expressions such as indexicals and demonstratives is that of Kaplan's two-dimensional semantics (the content- character distinction), further pursued in various directions by Stalnaker, Chalmers, and others. This chapter introduces and assesses the notion of context-sensitivity presented in this group of approaches, with a special focus on how it relates to the notion of cognitive significance and whether (...) it includes an intuitively plausible range of expressions within its scope. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the prospects of using two-dimensional semantics to account for context-sensitive expressions in dynamic discourse. (shrink)
In this paper Dynamic Event Semantics, DES, is presented. DES is based on the intuition that non-stative verbs express changes. The notion of change can be made precise in at least two different, yet complementary ways. It is either an object (event, action) or a transformation of state: a state s at which a result Q does not hold is transformed into a state s′ at which Q holds. An event can bring about more than one result. Each (...) result is of a particular type that determines how it is evaluated on the execution sequences of events of a given type. The way a result is evaluated on the execution sequences of events that bring it about corresponds to a dynamic mode from Dynamic Modal Logic, which, in turn, is closely related to a type of program from Dynamic Logic. Verbs belonging to one aspectual class are characterized by determining the same types of results. Aspectual classes can therefore, at least partially, be defined in terms of types of results, or, equivalently, in terms of the dynamic modes corresponding to these types. (shrink)
In this article we investigate the argument structure of Japanese V–V compounds from the perspective of Dynamic Event Semantics (Naumann 2001). The argument structure of a verb is defined as a linearly ordered set of so‐called dynamic roles. Dynamic roles differ from thematic relations in characterizing participants in terms of sets of results that are brought about in the course of an event. The patterns of argument sharing found in Japanese V–V compounds are shown to derive (...) from compatibility constraints on the different results that are assigned to a shared argument. In addition, it is argued that the phenomenon of argument blocking follows from the Subject‐Head Constraint (Gamerschlag 2000, 2002). This constraint requires the highest argument (= subject) of the head verb to be the highest argument of the compound. (shrink)
There is a puzzle regarding the semantics of quantification that is well-known among linguists and formal semanticists, but which has received relatively little attention from philosophers. The puzzle emerges most naturally if our semantic theory is categorical, satisfying two mutually supporting requirements.
Over recent years, various semantics have been proposed for dealing with updates in the setting of logic programs. The availability of different semantics naturally raises the question of which are most adequate to model updates. A systematic approach to face this question is to identify general principles against which such semantics could be evaluated. In this paper we motivate and introduce a new such principle the refined extension principle. Such principle is complied with by the stable model (...)semantics for (single) logic programs. It turns out that none of the existing semantics for logic program updates, even though generalisations of the stable model semantics, comply with this principle. For this reason, we define a refinement of the dynamic stable model semantics for Dynamic Logic Programs that complies with the principle. (shrink)
In this paper we present a dynamic assignment language which extends the dynamic predicate logic of Groenendijk and Stokhof [1991: 39–100] with assignment and with generalized quantifiers. The use of this dynamic assignment language for natural language analysis, along the lines of o.c. and [Barwise, 1987: 1–29], is demonstrated by examples. We show that our representation language permits us to treat a wide variety of donkey sentences: conditionals with a donkey pronoun in their consequent and quantified sentences (...) with donkey pronouns anywhere in the scope of the quantifier. It is also demonstrated that our account does not suffer from the so-called proportion problem.Discussions about the correctness or incorrectness of proposals for dynamic interpretation of language have been hampered in the past by the difficulty of seeing through the ramifications of the dynamic semantic clauses (phrased in terms of input-output behaviour) in non-trivial cases. To remedy this, we supplement the dynamicsemantics of our representation language with an axiom system in the style of Hoare. While the representation languages of barwise and Groenendijk and Stokhof were not axiomatized, the rules we propose form a deduction system for the dynamic assignment language which is proved correct and complete with respect to the semantics. (shrink)
Brasoveanu (Linguist Philos 34:93–168, 2011) argues that “different” exhibits what he calls association with distributivity: a distributive operator such as “each” creates a two-part context that propagates through the compositional semantics in a way that can be accessed by a subordinate “different”. We show that Brasoveanu’s analysis systematically undergenerates, failing to provide interpretations of sentences such as “Every1 boy claimed every girl read a different1 poem”, in which “different” can associate with a non-local distributive operator. We provide a generalized (...) version of association with distributivity, implemented using de Groote’s (in: Proceedings of semantics and linguistic theory XVI, 2006) continuation-based dynamicsemantics. We compare our analysis with the one in Brasoveanu (2011), drawing conclusions about computational tractability, scope of indefinites, and whether it is possible or even desirable to arrive at a unified analysis of internal and external readings of “different”. (shrink)
We address the old question whether a logical understanding of Quantum Mechanics requires abandoning some of the principles of classical logic. Against Putnam and others (Among whom we may count or not E. W. Beth, depending on how we interpret some of his statements), our answer is a clear "no". Philosophically, our argument is based on combining a formal semantic approach, in the spirit of E. W. Beth's proposal of applying Tarski's semantical methods to the analysis of physical theories, with (...) an empirical-experimental approach to Logic, as advocated by both Beth and Putnam, but understood by us in the view of the operationalrealistic tradition of Jauch and Piron, i. e. as an investigation of "the logic of yes-no experiments" (or "questions"). Technically, we use the recently-developed setting of Quantum Dynamic Logic (Baltag and Smets 2005, 2008) to make explicit the operational meaning of quantum-mechanical concepts in our formal semantics. Based on our recent results (Baltag and Smets 2005), we show that the correct interpretation of quantum-logical connectives is dynamical, rather than purely propositional. We conclude that there is no contradiction between classical logic and (our dynamic reinterpretation of) quantum logic. Moreover, we argue that the Dynamic-Logical perspective leads to a better and deeper understanding of the "non-classicality" of quantum behavior than any perspective based on static Propositional Logic. (shrink)
Relational Grammar (RG) was introduced in the 1970s as a theory of grammatical relations and relation change, for example, passivization, dative shift, and raising. Furthermore, the idea behind RG was that transformations as originally designed in generative grammar were unable to capture the common kernel of, e.g., passivization across languages. The researchconducted within RG has uncovered a wealth of phenomena for which it could produce a satisfactory analysis. Although the theory of Government and Binding has answered some of the complaints, (...) still it left many phenomena unaccounted for. Referent Systems (RSs) have been introduced by Vermeulen (1995) to overcome certain weaknesses of DynamicSemantics. Their usefulness has not yet been realized in semantical theory. We shall show here that their significance cannot be overestimated. Namely, we will show in this paper that there exists a fundamental affinity to RG. Both handle the relation between an argument and a functor by means of a shared relational sign, which is unique for each argument. This assignment can be changed. What is interesting is that the notion of a chômeur, which is central to RG, finds a natural treatment in RSs. This coincidence is in our view not accidental but reveals some fundamental properties of the human language faculty. (shrink)
Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences.
There is a rich canon of work on the meaning of imperative sentences, e.g. "Dance!", in philosophy and much recent research in linguistics has made its own exciting advances. However, in this paper I argue that three observations about English imperatives are problematic for approaches from both traditions. In response, I offer a new analysis according to which the meaning of an imperative is identified with the characteristic effect its uses have on the agents’ attitudes. More specifically: an imperative’s meaning (...) consists in its potential to change what the agents’ mutually take to be preferred for the purposes of the conversation. Preferences already have a well-established theoretical role in decision theory and artificial intelligence where they are central to understanding how rational agents decide what to do. Connecting them with the semantics of imperatives and formal models of language use therefore achieves a welcome theoretical unity. This unity pays dividends in bridging the gap between a semantics for imperatives and an explanation of how imperatives can (and can’t) be used to guide what we do. In particular, it provides a new and more precise articulation of Grice’s insight that language use can be illuminated by viewing it as an interaction between cooperative, rational agents. I will conclude with some brief remarks about how this approach can relate imperatives and modals, and how it can capture the diverse uses to which imperatives are put. (shrink)
A uniform theory of conditionals is one which compositionally captures the behavior of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals without positing ambiguities. This paper raises new problems for the closest thing to a uniform analysis in the literature (Stalnaker, Philosophia, 5, 269–286 (1975)) and develops a new theory which solves them. I also show that this new analysis provides an improved treatment of three phenomena (the import-export equivalence, reverse Sobel-sequences and disjunctive antecedents). While these results concern central issues in the study (...) of conditionals, broader themes in the philosophy of language and formal semantics are also engaged here. This new analysis exploits a dynamic conception of meaning where the meaning of a symbol is its potential to change an agent’s mental state (or the state of a conversation) rather than being the symbol’s content (e.g. the proposition it expresses). The analysis of conditionals is also built on the idea that the contrast between subjunctive and indicative conditionals parallels a contrast between revising and consistently extending some body of information. (shrink)
This paper considers the meaning and use of the English particle man . It is shown that the particle does quite different things when it appears in sentence-initial and sentence-final position; the first use involves expression of an emotional attitude as well as, on a particular intonation, intensification; this use is analyzed using a semantics for degree predicates along with a separate dimension for the expressive aspect. Further restrictions on modification with the sentence-initial particle involving monotonicity and evidence are (...) introduced and analyzed. The sentence-final use can be viewed as strengthening the action performed by the sentence. A formal semantics is given by making use of dynamic techniques and, in a sense, dynamically simulating the modification of certain speech acts. Some empirical and theoretical extensions of the analyses are proposed and some consequences discussed. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is twofold: (i) to introduce the framework of update semantics and to explain what kind of semantic phenomena may successfully be analysed in it: (ii) to give a detailed analysis of one such phenomenon: default reasoning.
It is arguably desirable to have a theory of meaning that (i) does not identify propositions with sets of worlds, (ii) enables to capture the dynamic character of semantic interpretation and (iii) provides the basis for a semantic program that incorporates and extends the achievements of Montague semantics. A theory of properties and propositions that meets these desiderata is developed and several applications to the semantic analysis of natural languages are explored.
This paper discusses the semantics of bare existentials , i.e. existentials in which nothing follows the post copular NP (e.g. There are four sections ). While it has sometimes been recognized that the interpretation of such sentences depends in some way on context, the exact nature of the context dependence involved has not been properly understood. It is shown that the meaning of bare existentials involves a set-denoting implicit argument, and that the range of interpretations found with bare existentials (...) is predictable from the general properties of implicit arguments. An explicit analysis within a dynamic setting is presented. (shrink)
There are two kinds of semantic theories of anaphora. Some, such as Heim’s File Change Semantics, Groenendijk and Stokhof’s Dynamic Predicate Logic, or Muskens’ Compositional DRT (CDRT), seem to require full coindexing of anaphora and their antecedents prior to interpretation. Others, such as Kamp’s Discourse Representation Theory (DRT), do not require this coindexing and seem to have an important advantage here. In this squib I will sketch a procedure that the first group of theories may help themselves to (...) so that they can interleave interpretation and coindexing in DRT’s way. (shrink)
There are two main approaches to the problem of donkey anaphora (e.g. If John owns a donkey , he beats it ). Proponents of dynamic approaches take the pronoun to be a logical variable, but they revise the semantics of quantifiers so as to allow them to bind variables that are not within their syntactic scope. Older dynamic approaches took this measure to apply solely to existential quantifiers; recent dynamic approaches have extended it to all quantifiers. (...) By contrast, proponents of E-type analyses take the pronoun to have the semantics of a definite description (with it ≈ the donkey, or the donkey that John owns ). While competing accounts make very different claims about the patterns of coindexation that are found in the syntax, these are not morphologically realized in spoken languages. But they are in sign language, namely through locus assignment and pointing. We make two main claims on the basis of ASL and LSF data. First, sign language data favor dynamic over E-type theories: in those cases in which the two approaches make conflicting predictions about possible patterns of coindexation, dynamic analyses are at an advantage. Second, among dynamic theories, sign language data favor recent ones because the very same formal mechanism is used irrespective of the indefinite or non-indefinite nature of the antecedent. Going beyond this debate, we argue that dynamic theories should allow pronouns to be bound across negative expressions, as long as the pronoun is presupposed to have a non-empty denotation. Finally, an appendix displays and explains subtle differences between overt sign language pronouns and all other pronouns in examples involving ‘disjunctive antecedents’, and suggests that counterparts of sign language loci might be found in spoken language. (shrink)
A new formalism for predicate logic is introduced, with a non-standard method of binding variables, which allows a compositional formalization of certain anaphoric constructions, including donkey sentences and cross-sentential anaphora. A proof system in natural deduction format is provided, and the formalism is compared with other accounts of this type of anaphora, in particular Dynamic Predicate Logic.
Deontic logic is standardly conceived as the logic of true statements about the existence of obligations and permissions. In his last writings on the subject, G. H. von Wright criticized this view of deontic logic, stressing the rationality of norm imposition as the proper foundation of deontic logic. The present paper is an attempt to advance such an account of deontic logic using the formal apparatus of update semantics and dynamic logic. That is, we first define norm systems (...) and a semantics of norm performatives as transformations of the norm system. Then a static modal logic for norm propositions is defined on that basis. In the course of this exposition we stress the performative nature of (i) free choice permission, (ii) the sealing legal principle and (iii) the social nature of permission. That is, (i) granting a disjunctive permission means granting permission for both disjuncts; (ii) non-prohibition does not entail permission, but the authority can declare that whatever he does not forbid is thereby permitted; and (iii) granting permission to one person means that all others are committed to not prevent the invocation of that permission. (shrink)
We examine the transitions between sets of possible worlds described by the compositional semantics of Modal Dependence Logic, and we use them as the basis for a dynamic version of this logic. We give a game theoretic semantics, a (compositional) transition semantics and a power game semantics for this new variant of modal Dependence Logic, and we prove their equivalence; and furthermore, we examine a few of the properties of this formalism and show that Modal (...) Dependence Logic can be recovered from it by reasoning in terms of reachability. Then we show how we can generalize this approach to a very general formalism for reasoning about transformations between pointed Kripke models. (shrink)
The theory of imperatives is philosophically relevant since in building it — some of the long standing problems need to be addressed, and presumably some new ones are waiting to be discovered. The relevance of the theory of imperatives for philosophical research is remarkable, but usually recognized only within the ﬁeld of practical philosophy. Nevertheless, the emphasis can be put on problems of theoretical philosophy. Proper understanding of imperatives is likely to raise doubts about some of our deeply entrenched and (...) tacit presumptions. In philosophy of language it is the presumption that declaratives provide the paradigm for sentence form; in philosophy of science it is the belief that theory construction is independent from the language practice, in logic it is the conviction that logical meaning relations are constituted out of logical terminology, in ontology it is the view that language use is free from ontological commitments. The list is not exhaustive; it includes only those presumptions that this paper concerns. (shrink)
In this paper I revive two important formal approaches to the interpretation of natural language, that of Montague and that of Karttunen and Peters. Armed with insights from dynamicsemantics (Heim, Krifka) the two turn out to stand up against age-old criticisms in an orthodox fashion. The plan is mainly methodological, as I only want to illustrate the technical feasibility of the revived proposals. Even so, there are illuminating and welcome empirical consequences on the subject of scope islands (...) (as discussed by Abusch and Kratzer, among many others), as well as unintended theoretical implications in the contextualist debate (Grice, Recanati, Simons, Stanley, and many others again). (shrink)
This volume addresses current issues in the semantics and the pragmatics of discourse and dialogue. Collected papers aim at providing insights on different theoretical approaches, all of them in the dynamicsemantics tradition, such as Dynamic Predicate Logic (DPL), Discourse Representation Theory (DRT), and Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT). They reflect the current move of formal semantics from short multisentential texts towards structured discourses and dialogues, accounting for more and more phenomena at the semantics-pragmatics (...) interface (e.g., subtleties of anaphora and presupposition, the role of temporal connectives in discourse or the establishment of common references in dialogue). (shrink)
Some dynamic semantic theories include an attempt to derive truth-conditional meaning from context change potential. This implies defining truth in terms of context change. Focusing on presuppositions and epistemic modals, this paper points out some problems with how this project has been carried out. It then suggests a way of overcoming these problems. This involves appealing to a richer notion of context than the one found in standard dynamic systems.