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Equilibrium Semantics: Toward a Comprehensive Account of Meaning

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I will start with a classification of the semantic contents of utterances. I will show through examples how each type of content—such as locutionary, modulated, enriched, implied, and others—may be derived from first principles assuming little more than the rationality of agents. To do this, I will use game theory and situation theory as combined in my framework Equilibrium Semantics. I will make a few remarks about the kinds of theoretical results one can obtain from such derivations including a generalization and reconciliation of Frege’s context and compositional principles. All of this falls under what I call micro-semantics. If time permits, I will try to say a little about how conventional meaning itself emerges through conversations in society, the subject of macro-semantics. As this is a lot of material, the talk will be more of an overview and I will not spend much time on

This talk is part of the Cambridge Linguistics Forum series.

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