Complex probability expressions & higher-order uncertainty: Compositional semantics, probabilistic pragmatics, and experimental data
Michael Franke (Universität Osnabrück),
[joint work with Michele Herbstritt]: We present novel experimental data pertaining to the use and interpretation of simple probability expressions (such as “possible” or “likely”) and complex ones (such as “possibly likely”) in situations of higher-order uncertainty, i.e., where speakers may be uncertain about the probability of a chance event. The data is used to critically assess a probabilistic model of speaker production and listener comprehension. The model embeds a simple compositional threshold-semantics for probability expressions, following recent work in formal linguistics, and formalizes general Gricean reasoning on top of it, taking the speaker’s higher-order uncertain belief states into account.