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Regular rates
(register after April 15):
Rutgers affiliate, not volunteering
: $75
Academic: $200
Non-academic/industry: $400

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Analysis by Default

In this course, we will re-frame the analytic, or definitional, project using tools from nonmonotonic logics. These logics were originally formulated to provide an account of propositional inference in situations governed by rules subject to exceptions, but in recent years they have also been applied, especially in the field of artificial intelligence and law, to problems involving lexical application -- whether certain information should be classified as a "trade secret," for example, whether a particular act properly counts as "assault," or whether a certain biological entity is a "person." We plan to review some highlights of this work, both from nonmonotonic logic and from artificial intelligence and law, and to then extend these theories to questions of lexical semantics and conceptual analysis more generally.

The goal is to present a formal framework for a new *process* of analysis, one that is consistent with the acknowledgement that there may be no watertight definition of certain lexical items, but without requiring concepts or lexical meanings to be primitive -- not subject to analysis at all. In the second part of the course, we will then focus on the way such analyses update to cover new cases, and hence how an open-textured concept may change its complexion over time.

Course Website

Sam Cumming
John Horty

John Horty
University of Maryland, College Park



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