Courses' slots:

Week one 11:00 - 12:30

Language and Computation foundational course:
The Foundations of Statistics: A Simulation-Based Approach.

  • Shravan Vasishth ()

External page


I will develop the statistical theory underlying hypothesis testing from first principles, using elementary probability theory and Monte Carlo simulations. I will use the programming language R ( In addition, we will discuss issues such as data visualization and data management for realistic datasets.

We will use a newer version of this freely available online textbook:

Day 1: Basics of R

Day 2: t-tests and confidence intervals

Day 3: statistical power, Type I and Type II errors

Day 4: linear models and their connection with t-tests

Day 5: multiple regression and mixed-effects models

This course will be useful for anyone doing any kind of quantitative research. Students typically learn cookbook statistics, an approach which often leads to significant misunderstandings regarding hypothesis testing. This course has been developed to help correct such problems.

Each lecture will be accompanied by practical exercises to be completed after class; solutions will be provided the following day.


Logic and Computation introductory course:
Temporal logics for specification and verification.


Course material: Goranko-ESSLLI2009CourseNotes.pdf


The course will cover the following topics:

I. Transition systems and computations. Important properties of transition systems: safety, eventualities, fairness, reachability. Formal specification and verification of properties of transition systems. Temporal logics as languages for specification.

II. Linear and branching time models of computations.

Linear time temporal logics. Expressing properties of computations in transition systems using LTL.

Satisfiability of LTL specifications. Verification of LTL specifications by model checking. Branching-time temporal logics. Expressing properties of computations in transition systems using CTL and CTL*.

Satisfiability of CTL specifications. Verification of CTL specifications by model checking.

III. Buchi automata on infinite words and trees. Automata recognizing models of temporal formulae.

Automata-based methods for satisfiability and model checking of linear and branching time temporal formulae.

IV. Tableau-based methods for testing satisfiability and model-checking of linear and branching time temporal formulae.

V. Optional, subject to time availability: Introduction to modal mu-calculus. Model checking of mu-calculus formulae.


Logic and Computation introductory course:
Logics of individual and collective intentionality.


External page


This course presents basic concepts about individual and collective intentionality which have been studied in the multi-agent domain and in the philosophical domain. We will discuss the most important logical theories developed in the last two decades to formalize individual and collective attitudes such as knowledge, belief, preference, intention, group belief (i.e. distributed belief, common belief, collective acceptance), collective intention. The course is also devoted to clarify the philosophical foundations of such concepts. In the first part of the course we will focus on individual attitudes. In the second part of the course we will focus on collective attitudes.



- Kripke models, logics S5, KD45;

- Omniscience problem;

- Link between belief and knowledge.


- Bratman's theory of intention;

- Cohen & Levesque's logic of intention;

- Other BDI approaches (Rao & Georgeff, Meyer & Van der Hoek, Wooldridge);

- Intention, intentional actions and attempts.


- Belief revision (AGM approach);

- Integrations of DEL and AGM;

- Logics of goal and preference change (Liu, Shapiro et al.).


- Philosophical theories of group belief (Lewis, Tuomela, Gilbert);

- Logics of distributed, mutual and common belief;

- The logic of collective acceptance.


- Philosophical theories of collective intention (Bratman, Tuomela);

- Logical theories of collective intention (Cohen et al., Grosz & Kraus, Dunin-Keplicz & Verbrugge).

PREREQUISITES. We assume basic background knowledge of modal logic.


Language and Logic introductory course:
Quotation and the semantics of speech reports.

  • Emar Maier ()

In every language we can say things about the world, but also about the language itself. In both natural and formal languages we find quotational devices dedicated to this task of turning a language on itself. In this course I give an introduction to the semantics of quotation, focusing on its use in natural language speech reporting. Entering more recent debates we'll explore in some detail the semantics of mixed quotation, and 'monstrous' perspectival shifts.

The starting point is the basic opposition between use and mention and the classic analyses of quotation (Quine, Tarski, Geach and Davidson). In the second lecture I apply these insights to the semantics of natural language speech reporting where we find an apparent parallel to our basic opposition in the distinction between indirect and direct discourse. I'll explore the standard reductions of direct discourse to mention, and indirect discourse to use (under an intensional operator in Kaplan's (1989) 'Logic of Demonstratives'). In the third lecture we'll consider the pros and cons of these standard approaches, in particular the recent challenges to Kaplan posed by shifted indexicals and Schlenker's (2003) analysis in terms of 'monsters'.

The most interesting type of speech report however is mixed quotation, which combines aspects of direct discourse/mention and indirect discourse/use. In the final two lectures we compare the main views in the ongoing debate about the semantics of this construction: Cappelen and Lepore (1997), Recanati (2001), Potts (2007), and Geurts and Maier (2005). I close by considering the possibility of extending the semantics of mixed quotation to account for the indexical shift phenomena problematic for the classic Kaplanian framework.


Language and Logic advanced course:
How to do things with words: Speech Acts in Linguistics, Philosophy and Computation.

  • Regine Eckardt ()
  • Magdalena Schwager ()

External page


Speech acts have been discovered in philosophy as acts that can be done with words or moves in a language game. They still pose a challenge to semantic theory where, typically, declarative sentences are analysed as denoting propositions. The two views of sentences as containers of information, and as moves in social interaction, can not easily be reconciled.

Grammar and speech act level are not completely disconnected. Practically all languages distinguish between three sentence modes, declarative, interrogative, imperative, which are prototypically tied to the respective speech acts. But many more aspects of grammar refer to language's function in social interaction: The use of subjunctive can serve to distinguish reported speech acts from executed speech acts. Particles, discourse adverbs and NPIs can serve as speech act markers. Examples abound, consider German wohl which turns questions into self-directed questions: Wer bringt Kaffee mit? "who will bring coffee?" (real question) Wer bringt wohl Kaffee mit? "who will wohl bring coffee?" (speaker asks herself) Doch/denn distinguish verb-initial exclamatives from yes/no questions: Hat er denn einen Hund mitgebracht? "has he brought along a dog?" Hat er doch einen Hund mitgebracht! "And what he did was bring a DOG along!" Intensifiers like English so can be used to emphasize properties ("He is so tall.") but arguably (Potts) also (preconditions of) speech acts ("He is so next in line.").

Historical ties Research on grammaticalization proves that indirect directive speech acts grammaticalize into grammarical markers of imperative sentence mood. Strikingly, languages exhibit exactly those grammaticalization paths that would be predicted by Searle's theory of indirect speech acts. While this parallel is satisfactory from a theoretical perspective, its consequences are largely unexplored. Are similar grammaticalization patterns known for other indirect speech acts? Other sentence modes? Why is it that grammars limit themselves to three sentence modes while major speech act classifications rest on at least five-six major groups, which subdivide into many more specific kinds of acts?

Analysis of speech acts Formal theories of speech acts exist (e.g. SDRT, Asher/Lascarides, but also philosophical approaches ranging from Stalnaker/Lewis to Searle/Vanderveken), but are usually phrased as orthogonal to, and disconnected from truth conditional semantics of the clause. However, there are many words that have a meaning both in semantics and at speech act level; consider quantification into speech acts, cookie conditionals ("if you're hungry, there are cookies on the table") and more. Can such cross-domain phenomena be captured in a way that makes the ties between the two levels maximally transparent? Related to this is the question whether there is any way to delimit the number of speech acts, and to come up with clear criteria to identify and distinguish them.

Speech acts and automatic language processing

Finally, applications in language processing are often based on a scenario of speaker-machine interaction which involves more than a simple exchange of propositional content. Such applications often rest on simple, task-driven models of "doing things with words". Is there anything that formal semanticists can learn from such theories that have been tested against real communication? Can semanticists contribute something to this type of models?


Language and Computation introductory course:
Grammaticality Judgements as Linguistic Evidence.

  • Brian Murphy ()

The current use of grammaticality judgements to evaluate the "goodness" of linguistic utterances is controversial (see e.g. Schutze; Wasow & Arnold). The more systematic approaches advocated by Bard and others remain a minority practise. Now, a new consensus is emerging (see e.g. Murphy; Featherston; Weskott & Fanselow), that i) theories of grammar may be investigated independently of models of acceptability judgements and ii) various judgement scales access a single cognitive competence. The course will begin with a quick review of theoretical views of grammaticality. The main part of the course will then introduce concrete methodological guidelines for gathering materials, composing instructions, presenting utterances, choosing among different judgement scales, and selecting appropriate statistical tests for analysis. Publicly available software will be introduced, with an emphasis on web-based testing. Acceptability judgements will be situated relative to other methodologies, including ERP analysis, timed reading and corpus analysis. The course will assume foundational knowledge of linguistics. particulars