Rich Thomason
Papers on Pragmatics and the Theory of Discourse


  1. "Accommodation, meaning, and implicature: interdisciplinary foundations for pragmatics." Published in Intentions in communication, P. Cohen, J. Morgan, and M. Pollack, eds., MIT Press, 1990. An attempt to sort out the basic concepts and mechanisms of language use.

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  3. "Empirical Methods in Discourse: Limits and Prospects".
    (Co-author, Pamela Jordan.)
            This is a position paper describing (and, to some extent,
            analyzing) difficulties in using empirical methods to test
            theories about discourse, and proposing a simulation-based

  4.                 PostScript         PDF
  5. "Context in Abductive Interpretation".
    2002.   (Co-author, Matthew Stone.)
            This paper describes how abductive weights can be
            incorporated into accounts of discourse context and
            develops and illustrates a way of implementing rules
            of context dynamics for such contexts.

  6.                 PostScript         PDF
  7. "Coordinating Understanding and Generation in an Inductive Approach to Interpretation".
    2003.   (Co-author, Matthew Stone.)
                  PostScript           PDF
            This paper describes how a single abductive architecture
            can manage interpretation and generation, and enable an
            account of how the processes can be coordinated. The
            ideas are illustrated with an example having to do with
            referring expressions.

  9. "Enlightened Update: A Computational Architecture for Presupposition and Other Pragmatic Phenomena."
    2006.    (Co-authors, Matthew Stone and David DeVault.)
            This paper provides an implementable theory of
            presupposition based on the idea that the production
            of presuppositions is intentional, that their
            recognition is a form of intention recogntion,
            and that intentions are structured objects
            resembling proofs.

  11. "Language Dynamics and Language Instantiation."
            Uses ideas from dynamic logic to characterize
            the relation between a language and language users
            in a general way that includes engineered languages
            and the genetic code.
  12. "Pragmatic Validity."
            Discusses validity due to special features of contextual
            statics and dynamics. Introduces examples of "illocutionary
            validity" and the relevance of this type of validity to Geach's
            arguments against emotivism. This version is a preliminary draft.