This is a critical introduction to dynamic semantics taught by Daniel Rothschild (UCL) and Matthew Mandelkern (MIT/Oxford). We will explore both major dynamics systems and their alternatives, focusing on dynamic treatments of pronouns, presuppositions and modality.


Day 1: Pronouns and presuppositions

Day 2: Epistemic modals and generalized quantifiers

Day 3 : Situational alternatives for anaphora

Day 4 : Pragmatic alternatives for presuppositions

Day 5 : Plural anaphora and dynamic epistemic modals



Daniel’s AHRC project website contains more notes on dynamic semantics. Here are links to some other useful papers online.

Background literature

Gareth Evans, Pronouns, quantifiers and relative clauses (I)
Lauri Karttunen Discourse References
David Lewis, Adverbs of quantication
David Lewis, Scorekeeping in a language game (seminal discussion of the the evolution of discourse)
Robert Stalnaker, Assertion
—, Pragmatic Presuppositions

Early classics

Hans Kamp, Theory of Truth and Semantic Representation
Irene Heim, File Change Semantics and the Familiarity Theory of Definites
Irene Heim, Semantics of Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases
Jeroen Groenendijk and Martin Stokhof, Dynamic Predicate Logic


David Beaver, Presupposition and Assertion in Dynamic Semantics
Rick Nouwen, Adrian Brasoveanu, Jan van Eijck, Albert Visser, Dynamic Semantics
Daniel Rothschild and Seth Yalcin, Three notions of dynamicness in language
Seth Yalcin, Introductory Notes on Dynamic Semantics


Rick Nouwen, E-type Pronouns: congressmen, sheep and paychecks


Irene Heim, On the projection problem for presupposition
Daniel Rothschild, Explaining presupposition projection

Epistemic modals

Frank Veltman, Defaults in Update Semantics
Seth Yalcin, Epistemic Modals


Maria Aloni, Quantification under Conceptual Covers, Chapter 3
Seth Yalcin, Epistemic Modality De Re

Pragmatic local contexts

Philippe Schlenker, Local Contexts
—, Local Contexts and Local Meaning
—, Presuppositions and Local Contexts

E-type approaches

Irene Heim, E-type pronouns and donkey anaphora
Paul Elbourne, Situations and Individuals

Sponsored by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Grants AH/N001877/1 and AH/M009602/1.