April 29: Hans Kamp

The Semantics and Philosophy of Language Workshop is pleased to present Hans Kamp (Universität Stuttgart), who will give the third workshop talk of the quarter.

‘Articulated contexts and their use in the interpretation of Definite Noun Phrases’

DATE: Friday, April 29, 2011
TIME: 11:00am-1:00 pm
PLACE: Cobb 102

ABSTRACT: The topic of this talk is a formally characterized general concept of context – that of an ‘articulated context’ – and some of the uses to which such contexts can be put.

The most distinctive properties of articulated contexts are:

(a) they unify the utterance contexts known from the work of Montague, Cresswell, Kaplan and others (who use such contexts to deal with indexicals and certain other directly referential expressions) with the discourse contexts of DRT and other forms of dynamic semantics;

(b) they also incorporate other information, such as (i) encyclopaedic knowledge of the sort that most of us carry around and use in the interpretation of, e.g. proper names and, (ii) where this is relevant, information of the perceptually accessible environment.

Articulated contexts were motivated by the need for a classification of definite noun phrases in relation to how their reference presuppositions may be resolved. The various types of definite NPs differ from each other, I will argue, in terms of the component or components of the articulated context that the interpreter may resort to in order to resolve their respective presuppositions.