Dynamics in Logic and Language
3rd Tsinghua Interdisciplinary Workshop on Logic, Language and Meaning
April 1–4, 2022, Online
The ‘dynamic turn’ in logic and language is now almost fifty years old. The mid- to late 1970s and early 80s saw the appearance both of adaptations of logics for reasoning about programs in computer science to the setting of modal logic and Kripke semantics, such as Propositional Dynamic Logic (PDL, Pratt, Fischer and Ladner, Segerberg, and others), and of proposals in natural language semantics, such as the Discourse Representation Theory (DRT) of Kamp and the File Change Semantics of Heim, to extend ‘static’ truth-conditional semantics for propositions to a dynamic semantics for discourse. Of course, ‘dynamic’ is a vague term. Kripke style semantics, with its rich repertoire of relations between states (of information, of program execution, of belief, of common ground, …), is well suited as a framework for describing dynamic processes. Such descriptions can still take the meaning of a sentence, classically, to be the set of states in which it is true. Kamp and Heim style semantics changes the notion of meaning itself, now viewed as an instruction for how to update the current set of states when the sentence is accepted; put differently, as a context/information change potential.
Since then, logical dynamics and dynamics in linguistic semantics have each developed into vast and fairly well-defined areas of research, largely independent of each other although there have also been points of contact. In logic, besides describing the behavior of programs, systems modeling the actions of agents based on their attitudes (knowledge, belief, goals, …) have been developed by scholars at the interface of logic, philosophy, computer science, artificial intelligence, and social sciences. The basic setting is still modal; Dynamic Epistemic Logic (DEL) brings updating actions like announcements with various degrees of persuasive power explicitly into the object language syntax, while other approaches keep a more standard syntax but assign new dynamic meanings.
In linguistics, Kamp and Heim style dynamic semantics was originally introduced to deal with anaphora, quantification, and presupposition projection. It has since been applied to an array of linguistic phenomena, such as epistemic modals, conditionals, plurals, tense and aspect, generalized quantifiers, propositional attitudes, vagueness, and discourse relations. Other approaches to extending classical truth-conditional meaning to a dynamic setting include situation semantics, dynamic predicate logic (DPL), variants of game-theoretic semantics, and more recently, inquisitive semantics which treats statements and questions on a par.
Do these two distinct perspectives on dynamics have something to learn from each other? That is one theme of this workshop, which brings together scholars from both traditions. But we welcome contributions on any general or particular aspect of dynamics in logic and/or language, for example, along the following lines:
- original contributions to, or applications to specific phenomena of, dynamic approaches in a broad sense, in logic
- applications of dynamic approaches (of various kinds) to specific phenomena across languages (English, Chinese, etc.)
- questions about the extent of the overlap, in content, methods, or motivation, between the two frameworks
- philosophical/conceptual contributions concerning, for example, what is essential to a dynamic approach, and how one can define the dynamic/static contrast more generally
- relatedly, in both frameworks, questions about in what ways dynamic approaches essentially extend or replace static ones, and to what extent this is desirable
- issues related to the semantics/pragmatics distinction, for example, where this distinction is properly located between the two extremes of (i) relegating all dynamic phenomena to pragmatics, and (ii) seeing dynamic semantics as incorporating most of pragmatics
- issues about static vs. dynamic meaning, in particular about compositionality
We invite submissions of 2-page abstracts (including references) on any of the broad themes related to dynamics in logic and language as suggested above. After a review procedure, authors of accepted abstracts will have the opportunity to present their papers at the workshop. After the workshop, a volume of full papers (properly refereed) will be published in the Springer LNCS – FoLLI series. Details on submission of full papers will follow.
Abstracts should be submitted via Easychair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=tllm2022
The workshop is planned to take place on site at Tsinghua University, Beijing. If travel restrictions still make this difficult, we plan to postpone it until the fall of 2022, and/or hold the workshop online.
November 20, 2021December 5, 2021: deadline for 2-page abstracts December 20, 2021January 10, 2022: notification of acceptance
- March 31, 2022: tutorials
- April 1-4, 2022: workshop