An Approach to Modeling Indexicality in Action and Communication

Yves Lespérance

While many uses of context sensitive expressions in language are just communicative shortcuts, ways of succinctly referring to the relevant entities, there are also cases where the information that needs to be communicated is intrinsically indexical. To model this, one needs a formal account of communication that relates the context sensitivity of language to that of mental states and action. In this paper, we develop a preliminary version of such an account, using our theory of indexical knowledge and action as a foundation. The account includes a formalization of the notion of mutual indexical knowledge, a specification of the semantics of a communication language that includes indexicals, and a formalization of the pragmatics of declarative utterances that supports reasoning about the ability of agents to achieve goals by making such utterances.

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