Logics of Conversation
Lecturer(s):Alex Lascarides (University of Edinburgh) and Nicholas Asher (University of Texas at Austin)
Type:Advanced Course
Section:Logic and Language
Time: 14.00-15.30 (Slot 3)
Room:EM 3.36


This course will introduce Segmented Discourse Representation Theory
(SDRT), drawing on our 2003 book "Logics of Conversation".  SDRT
is a dynamic semantic theory of the semantics/pragmatics interface that
focuses on how the interpretation an utterance involves its rhetorical
connections to its discourse context, and how that rhetorical information
augments the content that's derivable from syntax, thereby resolving
underspecified and/or ambiguous information about meaning. The theory
models diverse semantic and pragmatic phenomena: anaphora
resolution, VP ellipsis, presupposition, and bridging, among others.

We will present a dynamic semantics for rhetorical relations like Contrast
and Explanation.  We will also present a method for building logical forms
which feature these relations.  This uses a mixture of dynamic semantic
discourse update, semantic underspecification and commonsense reasoning to
overcome problems with previous approaches. We will model a wide range of
semantic and pragmatic phenomena in both discourse and dialogue, and
throughout the course we will compare and contrast SDRT's accounts
with those of DRT, Grice, Austin, Searle,
Hobbs and others.

© ESSLLI 2005 Organising Committee 2004-12-01