Logic and Conversation

Place: University of Amsterdam, OMHP D1.18B
Time: Fall 2012, Mondays 13.00-15.00 and Wednesdays 17.30-19.30
Lecturer: Jeroen Groenendijk and Floris Roelofsen


The theme of the course is the interplay between semantics and pragmatics in the interpretation of natural language discourse, 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 discourse, however, other notions become of interest as well. For instance, besides informative content, inquisitive content also plays a crucial role, and besides entailment/validity, logical notions of relatedness and relevance take center stage.


Theme 1: Setting the stage

29/10: Logic and Conversation (Grice 1975)                                  See also Chapter 6 of Gamut
31/10: The logic of interrogation (Groenendijk 1999) (slides)           See also Axiomatizing Groenendijk's LOI (Ten Cate & Shan, 2007)

Assignment: assignment 1, due 5/11.

Theme 2: Dynamic semantics with structured discourse contexts

See also:
Dynamic Prediate Logic (Groenendijk & Stokhof, 1991)
- Introduction to Dynamic Semantics (slides used by Adrian Brasoveanu and Sam Cumming for a course on dynamic semantics in Oslo, 2006)

Note: There will be a closely related DIP colloquium on Friday 9/11 by Jakub Dotlacil.

Assignment: assignment 2, due 12/11

Theme 3: Raising and resolving issues

12/11: Inquisitive semantics lecture notes (Ciardelli, Groenendijk, Roelofsen 2012), sections 1-2: Inquisitive meanings
14/11: Inquisitive semantics lecture notes (Ciardelli, Groenendijk, Roelofsen 2012), section 3, Inquisitive algebra

Assignment: assignment 3, due 19/11

19/11: Inquisitive semantics lecture notes (Ciardelli, Groenendijk, Roelofsen 2012), section 4: Inquisitive semantics
21/11: Inquisitive semantics and pragmatics (Groenendijk and Roelofsen 2009), sections 4-5: Inquisitive pragmatics (slides)

Assignment: assignment 4, due 26/11

Theme 4: Compliance and witnesses

26/11: Towards a logic of information exchange (Ciardelli, Groenendijk and Roelofsen 2012)  afterthought / note Ivano
28/11: Scope and the grammar of choice (Brasoveanu and Farkas 2011), section 1-3
3/12: Scope and the grammar of choice (Brasoveanu and Farkas 2011), section 4-6

Assignment: assignment 5, due 12/12

Theme 5: Division of labor between semantics and pragmatics

5/12: Meanings as proposals (Westera 2012)
10/12: The content and implicatures of might (Ciardelli, Groenendijk and Roelofsen 2010) (slides)
12/12: The content and implicatures of modified numerals (Westera 2012)

Assignment: assignment 6, due 21/12

Assignments and grading

There will be 6 homework assignments. The first five assignments will each make up 15% of the grade. The final assignment will make up 25% of the grade.