Informative dynamic semantics
In dynamic semantics, the meaning of a sentence is modeled as a rule for how a body of information grows when the sentence is accepted. Recent work in dynamic semantics has analyzed sentences involving modals and conditionals as tests. Tests are a special type of dynamic meaning. When an agent learns a test, her information is guaranteed to either stay the same, or become absurd.
The aim of this dissertation is to separate dynamic semantics from the notion of a test. The dissertation offers new analyses of modals, conditionals, and disjunction on which they are not tests. Nonetheless, these analyses are still genuinely dynamic. The meaning of sentences involving these expressions cannot be represented as a rule instructing the agent to update her information with the claim that she inhabits one of a fixed set of possibilities - that a certain proposition is true. Rather, the rule for how she is to update her information must make essential reference to her current information, providing different instructions depending on what that information is like.
Rutgers University 2017 | link