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Mostly Framing (talk recording available)
Dr. Paul M. Pietroski
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 01:00pm - 02:00pm
University of Maryland, Departments of Linguistics and Philosophy
In the first part of this talk, I'll present a series of studies (some still in progress) that illustrate how experimental methods can help adjudicate between *provably equivalent* but *procedurally distinct* specifications of the semantic properties of quantificational/comparative expressions like 'most' and 'more'. In the second part, I'll suggest that the independently motivated emphasis on procedural/algorithmic description in semantics--as opposed to focusing on description-neutral truth conditions, which can be represented in various formats--coheres with observations that logically equivalent sentences, involving 'most' and 'more', can create different framing effects in a roughly Kahneman/Tversky sense. Moreover, spatially rearranging the objects in a scene (while holding a quantificational/comparative test sentence constant) can reveal framing effects that tell against antecedently plausible semantic hypotheses, suggesting that linguistic meanings exhibit specific representational formats that are experimentally detectable.