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Epistemological foundations for the representation of discourse context

Summary: Epistemological foundations for the
representation of discourse context
Horacio Arl´o Costa
February 17, 2004
The first four sections of the paper focus on characterizing the elements
that enter into the characterization of the notion of discourse context. One
way of doing so is by identifying this notion with the set of commonly presup-
posed items. I propose a multi-agent account of context where it is essential
to represent what each agent takes as being commonly presupposed, aside from
what is commonly presupposed. The account requires adding dynamic features
to context, in terms of the capacities of supposing that something is the case,
given a current context; or in terms of the capacity of updating a context with
new information. These dynamic features figure prominently in the proposed
The final sections of the paper focus on the inferential role played by the
doxastic commitments induced by discourse context. I argue that these com-
mitments do play a crucial role in understanding how agents reason defeasibly
from the point of view of a given context. I discuss also some of the existing
accounts, in terms of autoepistemic operators. I argue that they cannot provide
a good encoding for conversational implicatures of the type Grice studied. The


Source: Andrews, Peter B. - Department of Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University


Collections: Mathematics