Nonlinguistic Aspects of Linguistic Contexts

  • Margherita BenziEmail author
  • Carlo Penco
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11939)


Our paper works on a proposal recently put forward by Hunter, Asher and Lascarides (2018) on the use of events in discourse context. We basically accept their view and their proposal of using events as explanation in discourse context. However we think that a stricter connection with demonstrations and causal reasoning in everyday conversation is a necessary step in a coherent view of discourse context. We will not deal with any particular formalism, but only with the general problem of taking into account some elements that may simplify or explain what is taken for granted in some steps of our inferences. A central concept used in these setting is the concept of “explanation” as a way to give coherence to the discourse context. This kind of explanation is also based, besides elements of a general encyclopedic knowledge, on default assumptions derived by the ontology present in the lexicon as Asher (2011) has abundantly shown. However, the steps to recover such coherence would gain clarity with a better specification of causal explanation and with a more precise account of the relation between demonstrative and demonstrations in discourse context. On these two aspects we give some suggestions.


Discourse context Demonstratives Gestures Causation 


  1. Asher, N., Lascarides, A.: Logics of Conversation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2003)Google Scholar
  2. Asher, N.: Lexical Meaning in Context. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benzi, M.: Thought experiment and actual causation. Topoi (2016). Scholar
  4. Benzi, M., Penco, C.: Defeasible arguments and context dependence. Paradigmi 36(3), 561–578 (2018)Google Scholar
  5. Borghi, G., Penco, C.: Kaplan’s sloppy thinker and the demonstrative orginis of indexicals. Quad. Semant. 3–4, 117–137 (2017)Google Scholar
  6. Burge, T.: Truth, Thought and Reason. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Da Ponte, M., Korta, K., Perry, J.: Utterance and context. In: Ciecierski, T., Grabarczyk, P. (eds.) The Architecture of Context and Context Sensitivity. Springer, Dordrecht (2019)Google Scholar
  8. Frege, G.: Der Gedanke. Beiträge Zur Philosophie Des Deutschen Idealismus I, 58–77 (1918)Google Scholar
  9. Frege, G.: Postumous Writings. Blackwell, Oxford (1979)Google Scholar
  10. Gauker, C.: Semantics and pragmatics. In: Russell, G., Graff Fara, D. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Routledge, London (2012)Google Scholar
  11. Guarino, G., Porello, D., Guizzardi, D.: On weak truthmaking. In: Proceedings of the Joint Ontology Workshops (2019, in press)Google Scholar
  12. Hunter, J., Asher, N., Lascarides, A.: A formal semantics for situated conversation. Semant. Pragmat. 11 (2018). Scholar
  13. Korta, K., Perry, J.: Critical Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kripke, S.A.: Frege’s theory of sense and reference: some exegetical notes. Theoria (2008). Scholar
  15. Künne, W.: Hybrid proper names. Mind 101(404), 721–731 (1992)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lascarides, A., Asher, N.: Segmented discourse representation theory: dynamic semantics with discourse structure. In: Bunt, H., Muskens, R. (eds.) Computing Meaning, vol. 83, pp. 87–124. Springer, Dordrecht (2008). Scholar
  17. Lascarides, A., Stone, M.: A formal semantic analysis of gesture. J. Semant. 26, 393–449 (2009). Scholar
  18. Neale, S.: Silent reference. In: Ostertag, G. (ed.) Meanings and Other Things - Essays in Honour of Stephen Schiffer. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2016)Google Scholar
  19. Palinko, O., Rea, G., Sandini, F., Sciutti, A.: A robot reading human gaze: why eye tracking is better than head tracking for human-robot collaboration. In: IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 5048–5054 (2016).
  20. Penco, C.: Indexicals as demonstratives: on the debate between Kripke and Künne. Grazer Philos. Stud. 88, 1–11 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Penco, C.: Donnellan’s misdescriptions and loose talk. In: Korta, K., De Ponte, M. (eds.) Reference and Representation in Language and Thought, pp. 104–125. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2017)Google Scholar
  22. Perry, J.: Frege’s Detour. An Essay on Meaning, Reference, and Truth. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2019)Google Scholar
  23. Speaks, J.: The role of speaker and hearer in the character of demonstratives. Mind 125(498), 301–339 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Stojnic, U., Stone, M., Lepore, E.: Deixis (even without pointing). Philos. Perspect. 27, 502–523 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Textor, M.: Frege’s theory of hybrid proper names extended. Mind 124, 823–847 (2015)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DIGSPES and Center for Artificial Intelligence AI@UPOUniversity of Eastern PiedmontAlessandriaItaly
  2. 2.DISPO and Genoa Cognitive ScienceUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly

Personalised recommendations