Authors
Richmond Thomason
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Abstract
We relate the theory of presupposition accommodation to a computational framework for reasoning in conversation. We understand presuppositions as private commitments the speaker makes in using an utterance but expects the listener to recognize based on mutual information. On this understanding, the conversation can move forward not just through the positive effects of interlocutors’ utterances but also from the retrospective insight interlocutors gain about one anothers’ mental states from observing what they do. Our title, ENLIGHTENED UPDATE, highlights such cases. Our approach fleshes out two key principles: that interpretation is a form of intention recognition; and that intentions are complex informational structures, which specify commitments to conditions and to outcomes as well as to actions. We present a formalization and implementation of these principles for a simple conversational agent, and draw on this case study to argue that pragmatic reasoning is holistic in character, continuous with common-sense reasoning about collaborative activities, and most effectively characterized by associating specific, reliable interpretive constraints directly with grammatical forms. In showing how to make such claims precise and to develop theories that respect them, we illustrate the general place of computation in the cognitive science of language.
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

What is Presupposition Accommodation, Again?Kai von Fintel - 2008 - Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):137--170.
Reductionism About Understanding Why.Insa Lawler - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (2):229-236.
Expectation Biases and Context Management with Negative Polar Questions.Alex Silk - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (1):51-92.
An Epistemic Step for Anti-Presuppositions.E. Chemla - 2008 - Journal of Semantics 25 (2):141-173.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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