Dynamic Semantics and Pragmatic Alternatives
Language and Logic (Introductory)
Second week, from 11:00 to 12:30
*** this course will be co-taught by Matt Mandelkern ***
This course will serve as a critical introduction to dynamic semantics. The first three sessions will introduce a related family of dynamic semantics for pronouns, presupposition, and epistemic modality. Our focus will be on the basic technical innovations in these semantics and their empirical coverage. We will also assess the extent to which is there a unified dynamic account of the three areas. The last two sessions of the course examine alternatives to dynamic semantics in the literature. These will include both the pragmatic accounts of local context put forward by Schlenker and Stalnaker and various non-dynamic accounts of pronouns. While classic works such as Heim’s and Kamp’s will be referred to, our focus will be on empirical issues that have been investigated in detail more recently, such as plural anaphora, the interaction between quantifiers and presuppositions and epistemic modals, and epistemic contradictions.