A new framework that shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.
In Language and Equilibrium, Prashant Parikh offers a new account of meaning for natural language. He argues that equilibrium, or balance among multiple interacting forces, is a key attribute of language and meaning and shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.
His account results in a novel view of semantics and pragmatics and describes how both may be integrated with syntax. It considers many aspects of meaning-including literal meaning and implicature-and advances a detailed theory of definite descriptions as an application of the framework.
Language and Equilibrium is intended for a wide readership in the cognitive sciences, including philosophers, linguists, and artificial intelligence researchers as well as neuroscientists, psychologists, and economists interested in language and communication.
Prashant Parikh is Senior Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Research in Cognitive Science and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Linguistics Department. He is the author of The Use of Language.