Tuesday 25th July 2017
Ground Floor Seminar Room
25 Howland Street, London, W1T 4JG
Using language by reasoning about others
Probabilistic models of human cognition have been widely successful at capturing the ways that people represent and reason with uncertain knowledge. The Rational Speech Act framework uses probabilistic modeling tools to formalize natural language understanding as social reasoning: literal sentence meaning arises through probabilistic conditioning, and pragmatic enrichment is the result of listeners reasoning about cooperative speakers. I will describe how this framework can resolve several puzzles in human language use: overinformativity in reference, viewpoint neglect in coordination, and the sorites paradox.