De Taal der Vooroordelen. Valedictory Lecture, Universiteit van Amsterdam. [ pdf ]
The Language of Prejudice. This is an English version (≠ translation) of the above. [ pdf ]
Making the right exceptions. Artificial Intelligence, 238, 96-116. (with Harald Bastiaanse) [ pdf ]
Abstract: This paper provides a principled answer to the question of how to deal with conflicting default rules. It does so in two ways: semantically within a circumscriptive theory, and syntactically by supplying an algorithm for inheritance networks. Arguments that can be expressed in both frameworks are valid on the circumscriptive account if and only if the inheritance algorithm has a positive outcome.
Expressing expectations. In: B. Rabern and D. Ball (eds.), The Science of Meaning. Oxford University Press. (with Inés Crespo and Hadil Karawani) [ pdf ]
Abstract: In this paper we have to say something about a variety of topics:
What these topics have in common is that one cannot explain the meaning --- not even the logical properties--- of the expressions concerned without explaining how they affect people's expectations. This can best be done in a framework in which the meaning of a sentence is not equated with its truth conditions but with its (potential) impact on the intentional state of an addressee.
- Conditionals. (There is a third kind of conditionals, somewhere between indicatives and counterfactuals.)
- Relative gradable adjectives. (How do they get their evaluative force?)
- Generic sentences. (Why aren't they all equally general?)
Testing and Tasting, 2nd draft. (with Inés Crespo) [ pdf ]
Our main concern in this paper is the semantics of predicates of personal taste. However, in order to see these predicates in the right perspective, we had to broaden the scope to the wider class of relative gradable adjectives.
We present an analysis of the meaning of these adjectives in the framework of update semantics. In this framework the meaning of a sentence is not identified with its truth conditions, but with its (potential) impact on people's intentional states. In this respect, an important characteristic of relative gradable adjectives is the interplay between their evaluative features and people's expectations.
The dynamic set up also makes it possible (a) to model the interpretation of a relative gradable adjective without supposing that the context always supplies a `cut-off' point determining its application, and (b) to deal in a pragmatic way with situations in which the Sorites paradox arises.