Reference and Computation: An Essay in Applied Philosophy of Language

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 31, 1990 - Computers - 185 pages
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This book deals with a major problem in the study of language: the problem of reference. The ease with which we refer to things in conversation is deceptive. Upon closer scrutiny, it turns out that we hardly ever tell each other explicitly what object we mean, although we expect our interlocutor to discern it. Amichai Kronfeld provides an answer to two questions associated with this: how do we successfully refer, and how can a computer be programmed to achieve this? Beginning with the major theories of reference, Dr Kronfeld provides a consistent philosophical view which is a synthesis of Frege's and Russell's semantic insights with Grice's and Searle's pragmatic theories. This leads to a set of guiding principles, which are then applied to a computational model of referring. The discussion is made accessible to readers from a number of backgrounds: in particular, students and researchers in the areas of computational linguistics, artificial intelligence and the philosophy of language will want to read this book.
 

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Contents

Methods and scope
1
11 Internal and external perspectives
2
12 Referring as planning
7
13 Philosophical foundations
13
14 Summary of Chapter 1
15
The descriptive approach
17
22 The descriptive research program
20
23 Objections
26
51 Speakers reference and indirect speech acts
86
52 Functional and conversational relevance
91
53 Descriptions as implicatures
97
Recognizing conversational relevance
100
Speakers assertion
101
Extensional and intensional justification
102
The meaning of must
106
Nonassertives and indefinite descriptions
110

Away with meanings
28
In praise of singular propositions
30
The status of de re beliefs
32
Identification reconsidered
33
25 Summary of Chapter 2
45
First steps
47
31 Donnellans distinctions
48
32 Having a particular object in mind
50
33 A threetiered model of referring
57
Individuating sets
58
Referring intentions
60
Choice of referring expressions
61
final chord
62
34 Summary of Chapter 3
65
Referring intentions and goals
68
42 The literal goal of referring
71
43 The discourse purpose of referring
75
44 Summary of Chapter 4
82
Conversationally relevant descriptions
85
54 Summary of Chapter 5
113
Thoughts and objects
116
61 The essential indexical
117
62 The pragmatics of belief reports
123
A conflict of interest
127
The shortest spy revisited
129
Causality and vividness
132
Individuating sets and the descriptive view
134
63 Summary of Chapter 6
137
Computational models
141
72 A Prolog experimental system
144
73 Formalizing referring effects
149
Mutual individuation
150
Speech acts and rationality
156
Referring and rationality
167
74 Summary of Chapter 7
172
References
175
Index
181
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