Evening Lectures

As usual, ESSLLI 2013 will feature four evening lectures which are open to the general public. We are happy to announce the speakers Ulrike Sattler (Manchester), Gerald Penn (Toronto), Sebastian Löbner (Düsseldorf) and Patrick Blackburn (Roskilde).

Ulrike Sattler (Manchester)

Automated Reasoning: Why Computational Complexity Isn’t All That Matters

August 6, 2013, 7 pm, HS Interim (16.12)

Download the slides [pdf]

Analysing the computational complexity of reasoning problems and designing (analysing, implementing, optimising, …) automated reasoning procedures are well established components of research into logics. In this talk, I will try to explain related questions that matter when trying to use logics in the applications they have been designed to be used in, and whose investigation is rather less well established. In particular, I will talk about various aspects of the performance of reasoning procedures, discuss different approaches to explaining reasoning results, and sketch some important reasoning problems that are not reducible to those usually investigated.

Gerald Penn (Toronto)

The Architecture of Paninian Grammar

August 8, 2013, 7 pm, HS Interim (16.12)

Panini was an ancient Indian grammarian who is believed to have lived in roughly the 5th century BCE.  He wrote a large grammar that, in spite of its age, was a remarkably formal and advanced piece of linguistic writing.  The tradition of Sanskrit grammar that ensued from the study of this work in India has had lasting effects that can still be felt in our own modern understanding of the structure of language.
Panini is sometimes cited but seldom studied by generative linguists today. There have been several very influential publications, in both the computer science and linguistics literature of the last 50 years, that have very stridently claimed the existence of parallels between the ancient and modern, presumably to demonstrate some sort of convergence on what must be the “right” answer for how to think about various aspects of the structure of language.
This lecture will describe a research programme that has examined these putative parallels in more detail as it attempts to give the Paninian tradition an opportunity to speak in its own terms to a modern audience. A general background to how the system works will also be provided

Sebastian Löbner (Düsseldorf)


August 13, 2013, HS Interim (16.12)

6.45 pm – FoLLI general meeting and Beth Dissertation Award
7.15 pm – Start of lecture

Download the slides [pdf]

According to the Principle of Compositionality, “The meaning of a complex expression is a function of the meaning of its parts and its syntactic structure”. It is tacitly understood that the meaning of a complex expression derives by application of general rules of semantic composition, such as functional application of an operator to its argument(s) or logical conjunction of two constituents. According to the traditional doctrine of Formal Semantics, every syntactic operation is associated with a semantic rule of composition. Syntax determines semantic composition. Thus, the same semantic interpretation rule applies for all instances of a syntactic construction, e.g. the combination Det+N, A+N or V+object NP. This doctrine, known as the homomorphism of syntax and semantics, will be challenged in this talk.
It will be argued that in addition to syntactic structure the semantic type of its constituents may matter for the choice of the composition rule to be applied. There are grammatically homogeneous sets of constructions that actually host semantic subclasses that call for different rules of composition. Such constructions are called ‘sub-compositional’. It will be shown that the doctrine of homomorphism has been in the way of a proper treatment of several central phenomena. In the last part of the talk I will discuss verb gradation in German as an example of massive sub-compositionality.

Patrick Blackburn (Roskilde)

Past, Present and Future

August 15, 2013, HS Interim (16.12)

Download the slides [pdf]

6.45 pm – Reception 25th Anniversary of ESSLLI
7.15 pm – Start of lecture

Arthur Prior (1914 – 1969) was a philosophical logician, best known for his invention of tense logic. He died 20 years before the first ESSLLI was held in Groningen in 1969, but his influence on contemporary modal logic and natural language semantics means that his presence can still be felt at these summer schools.
In this talk I will be examining Prior’s logical legacy from the perspective of con-temporary modal and hybrid logic. But my aim is not to chart exactly what Prior did and when, rather it is to sketch a partial outline of what the `logic’ in Philosophical Logic meant to Prior, and to contrast this with its meaning in Logic, Language and Information. A Quixotic task perhaps, but along the way we will have good company, most notably that of Hans Kamp and Johan van Benthem, two logicians who have contributed so much to the way we understand `logic’ in these summer schools. I’ll leave younger ESSLLI participants to decide what this might have to do with the logic of tomorrow.