Spring 2012

Thursday 15 March, LIRa
meeting (DZ8)

On Thursday, March 15, there will be a special session of the LIRa seminar in Tilburg with three talks, starting at 2 p.m.. The program is below.

Program:

14:15-15:00 Sara Uckelman (Tilburg): Paul of Venice on a Puzzle About Uncertainty

15:15-16:00 Reinhard Muskens (Tilburg): A Non-extensional and Partial Type Logic

16:15-17:00 Dominik Klein (Tilburg): Languages to reason about knowledge: Types, Levels…

17:15-18:00 Drinks

Abstracts:

Sara Uckelman: Paul of Venice on a Puzzle About Uncertainty

In this talk I will report on work-on-progress looking at a late 14th C puzzle about uncertainty, “whether something known by someone is uncertain to him or not known to him”, discussed by Paul of Venice in the treatise De scire et dubitare (‘On knowing and being uncertain’). We consider one of the arguments in favor of this position that Paul presents, and Paul’s objections to the argument. Understanding both the argument and the reply requires unpacking quite a bit of interesting information about medieval epistemology and medieval epistemic logic, some of which is eerily similar to its medieval counterparts, and some of which is radically different.

See also the LIRa site

17 April, Wiebke Petersen (DZ8)

Title: On Frames and their components

Abstract: In the talk I will introduce you to the recently established research cluster in Düsseldorf which investigates the frame hypothesis that all representations in the human cognitive system correspond to frames. Frames are understood as attribute-value structures and can be regarded as a generalization of classical typed feature structures. After giving a short introduction, I will focus on the ontological status of the frame components and especially on the question of how attributes and types are related to each other. Three possible answers will be discussed: (1) they are independent, (2) attributes can be reduced to types, (3) types can be reduced to attributes.

1 May, Michael Franke (DZ8)

Title: Pragmatic Reasoning about Unawareness

Abstract: Language use and interpretation is heavily contingent on context. But human interlocutors need not always agree what the actual context is. In game theoretic approaches to language use and interpretation, interlocutors beliefs about the context are the players’ beliefs about the game that they are playing. Together this entails that we need to consider cases in which interlocutors have different subjective conceptualizations of the game they are in. This talk therefore extends an existing model of pragmatic reasoning, namely the iterated best response model (e.g. Jäger and Ebert, 2009; Franke, 2011), to games with unawareness (e.g. Halpern and Rêgo, 2006; Feinberg, 2011a; Heifetz et al., 2011a). This extension not only leads to more plausible context models for many communicative situations, but also to improved predictions for otherwise problematic cases and an extension of the scope of pragmatic phenomena that can be captured by game theoretic analysis. Applications covered in this talk are Horn’s division of pragmatic labor (Horn 1984), the asymmetric availability of alternatives in scalar reasoning in the vein of Grice (1989) and the awareness-mitigating role of “frame-setter” constructions, such as certain kinds of biscuit conditionals (Austin 1956).

5 June, Gideon Borensztajn (DZ6)

Title: Grammar acquisition as the construction of a memory system

Abstract: While language processing and acquisition clearly involve the use of the human memory system, the latter role in language processing has thus far not been thoroughly investigated. In this talk I discuss a computational model of grammar acquisition and syntactic parsing that incorporates fundamental insights about the interaction of a semantic and episodic memory system in the brain. While the semantic memory system encodes linguistic knowledge in the form of abstract rules of grammar, the episodic memory system stores memories of concrete sentence fragments. Together, they offer a neuro-biological perspective on human language that unifies traditional rule-based and exemplar-based linguistic theories. The model of integrated episodic-semantic memory illustrates the parallels between the language acquisition process, which describes a transition from a concrete, item-based child language to an abstract adult language, on the one hand, and the biological memory consolidation process, as observed in animal studies, on the other hand.

12 June, No Meeting

But the students (Sapientia Ludenda, or ‘sapi’ for short) have organised a debate. It’s in English and might be fun. (TZ3, Tias Building, 14:45–18:00, drinks afterwards). Lasha’s talk will be scheduled on another day. Stay tuned.

19 June, Joop Leo (DZ6)

Title: Developing a logic of relations

Abstract: Predicate logic offers a powerful means to reason about mathematical relations, but for natural relations, such as the love relation, it is less suitable. In fact, for such relations predicate logic functions like a distorting mirror, in the sense that it does not faithfully represent reality.

This can be illustrated with the formula L(a, e). The terms a and e come in a certain order, but if we interpret this formula as the fact that Abelard loves Eloise, then in the fact itself we do not see such an order. If you think that the order is essential for the underlying relation, you are misled by a representational artifact. However, of an impeccable logic we expect that it can represent reality in a very pure and natural way. Only such a logic does not yet exist.

In this talk, I will present first steps towards developing a logic of relations ‘out there’ in the world, and towards an alternative for set theory based on the new logic.

26 June, Tarek Besold (DZ6)

Title: Computational Analogy-Making, Concept Blending & Creativity

Abstract:
Being creative is considered a central property of humans in solving problems,
adapting to new states of affairs, applying successful strategies in previously unseen
situations, or coming up with new conceptualizations. Therefore, following the
human example, general intelligent systems should have a potential to realize to a
certain extent such forms of creativity.

One possible approach to addressing this challenge is the idea that creativity and productivity issues should be best addressed by taking cognitive mechanisms into account, such as analogy-making, concept blending, and the computation of generalizations of concepts and theories.

The literature on concept blending and metaphor-making has illustrations galore of how these mechanisms may support the creation and grounding of new concepts (or whole domains) in terms of a complex, integrated network of older ones. In spite of this, as of yet there is no general computational account of blending and metaphor-making that has proven powerful enough as to cover all the examples from the literature.

In this talk, we will have a look at a logic-based framework for computational analogy-making, that can also be used for blending and metaphor making, and will explore its applicability in creativity-related settings as diverse as mathematical domain
formation, classical rationality puzzles, and noun-noun combinations.

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