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Communication and the Complexity of Semantics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy. (Theoretical Philosophy)
2012 (English)In: Oxford Handbook of Compositionality / [ed] Wolfram Hinzen, Eduoard Machery, and Marcus Werning, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 1, 510-529 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

I first argue that we have reason to look to the computational needs of communication for justifying the claim that natural language semantics is compositional. I then turn to discussing appropriate measures of computa- tional complexity. For the measure chosen I present arguments that maxi- mally efficient computational systems have a certain form. I argue that se- mantic functions of a certain more specific compositional kind can be com- puted by systems of that form. In this sense, they have minimal complexity. I finally discuss the converse question about the extent to which maximal efficiency mandates compositionality, and conclude that although it is not strictly required, there is reason to think that natural language semantics at least approximates a kind of semantics that is in one respect more specific than, and in another respect a generalization of, standard compositionality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 1. 510-529 p.
Keyword [en]
Semantics, compositionality, complexity, computation, interpretation
National Category
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-85052ISBN: 978-0-19-954107-2OAI: diva2:582493
Available from: 2013-01-08 Created: 2013-01-04 Last updated: 2014-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Pagin, Peter
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