Context Dynamics

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Michael Caie


In this paper, I consider how, given mutual knowledge of the information codified in a compositional semantic theory, an assertion of a sentence serves to update the shared information in a conversation. There is a standard account, due to Stalnaker, of how such conversational updating occurs. While this account has much to recommend it, in this paper I argue that it needs to be revised in light of certain patterns of updating that result from certain natural discourses. Having argued for this, I present a new account of conversational updating that can be seen as a natural generalization of the standard account, and show how it can predict these patterns in a simple and principled manner.

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