263-5353-00L  Philosophy of Language and Computation

SemesterAutumn Semester 2022
LecturersR. Cotterell, J. L. Gastaldi
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractUnderstand the philosophical underpinnings of language-based artificial intelligence.
ObjectiveThis graduate class, taught like a seminar, is designed to help you understand the philosophical underpinnings of modern work in natural language processing (NLP), most of which centered around statistical machine learning applied to natural language data.
ContentThis graduate class, taught like a seminar, is designed to help you understand the philosophical underpinnings of modern work in natural language processing (NLP), most of which centered around statistical machine learning applied to natural language data. The course is a year-long journey, but the second half (Spring 2023) does not depend on the first (Fall 2022) and thus either half may be taken independently. In each semester, we divide the class time into three modules. Each module is centered around a philosophical topic. In the first semester we will discuss structuralism, recursive structure and logic, and in the second semester we will focus on language games, information and pragmatics. The modules will be four weeks long. During the first two weeks of a module, we will read and discuss original texts and supplementary criticism. During the second two weeks, we will read recent NLP papers and discuss how the authors of those works are building on philosophical insights into our conception of language—perhaps implicitly or unwittingly.
LiteratureThe literature will be provided by the instructors on the class website.