Situations, Information, and Semantic Content

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Situations, Information, and Semantic Content
16-18 December, 2016

Idea and Motivation

The semantic content of natural language is multiply situated: Whether an utterance receives one interpretation or another depends on the discourse situation (in which the utterance takes place), on the target situation (which is described by the utterance), and on the interpreting agents' informational situation (which also contains the agents' background knowledge). Over the past decades, work on extra-linguistic context-dependence has focused on discourse situations and target situations, and has paid less attention to the dependence of interpretation on the agents' informational situation. However, this kind of information-dependence plays a crucial role in the explanation of a number of semantic phenomena, including the behavior of epistemic/deontic modals and propositional attitude-sentences. Recent research in situated cognition has suggested an even more general scope of semantic information-dependence. The latter assumes that cognition (and therefore, all linguistic understanding) is fundamentally embedded in the situational context of the cognition.

Aims and Scope

This workshop aims to bring together linguists, philosophers, logicians, and cognitive and computer scientists to discuss the information-dependence of the semantic content of natural language. It covers all aspects of the interaction between situations, information, and semantic content – both theoretical and experimental –, including

  • agents' information and semantic content
  • the scope of information-dependence in natural language
  • analyses of semantic phenomena featuring information-dependence
  • experiments on semantic information-dependence
  • the impact of agents' information on attitude attributions
  • semantic aspects of situated cognition
  • situation theory and situation semantics
  • data semantics and dynamic/update semantics
  • (partial) information and situations
  • the formal analysis of (informational) situations
  • the formal analysis of background knowledge
  • partiality of information
  • type-theoretic approaches to information

To allow enough time for an exchange of ideas on the above topics, we will reserve some slots for discussion groups and work meetings.