Logic and Conversation: Fall 2015

Amsterdam Master of Logic, University of Amsterdam

The theme of the course is the interplay between semantics and pragmatics in the interpretation of natural language in conversation, and the role of logic in formulating semantic and pragmatic theories. Traditionally, logic is concerned with the characterization of valid reasoning and argumentation, and therefore focusses on informative content, defined in terms of truth conditions. When analyzing conversation, however, other notions become of interest as well. In particular, besides informative content, inquisitive content also comes to play a crucial role.

The main focus of the course will be on recent work in inquisitive semantics, starting with a general introduction and then moving to more advanced topics.

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Lucas Champollion

Lecturer (NYU)

Floris Roelofsen

Course coordinator and lecturer


Good working knowledge of first-order logic is required. Familiarity with type-logical semantics will be convenient for some parts of the course. Ideally, students have already taken Structures for Semantics, though this is not strictly necessary.

Lecture notes

The lecture notes for the first part of the course (including exercises) can be downloaded here.

Assignments and grading

There will be five homework assignments, each of which will make up 20% of the grade. For some of the assignments it may be useful to make use of the latex template available here.


Tuesdays 11.00-13.00 (G0.23), Thursdays 13.00-15.00 (B0.208)

# Date Material Content Lecturer
Part 1 – General introduction
1.1 – Basic framework
1 27/10 LN chapter 1 Motivation (slides) Floris
2 29/10 LN chapter 2 Basic notions Floris
3 3/11 LN chapter 3 Operations on propositions Ivano
4 5/11 LN chapter 4 First-order inquisitive semantics Floris
1.2 – Basic applications
5 10/11 LN chapter 6 Declarative and interrogative lists Floris
6 12/11 LN chapter 5 Question semantics Floris
7 17/11 LN chapter 7 Inquisitive epistemic logic Ivano
Part 2 – Topics in current research
2.1 – Conditionals
8 19/11 Stalnaker 1984
McCawley 1993
Counterfactuals with atomic antecedents:
the Stalnaker/Lewis account
9 24/11 handout Counterfactuals with complex antecedents:
causality and inquisitive connectives
2.2 – Pragmatics
10 26/11 handout Pragmatics Jeroen
11 1/12 handout
InqS paper
Pragmatics Jeroen
12 3/12 handout Pragmatics Jeroen
2.3 – Logic
13 8/12 dissertation
pages 46-65
Logic (slides) Ivano
14 10/12 dissertation
chapter 3
Logic Ivano