Abstraction and Ontology: Questions as Propositional Abstracts in Type Theory with Records

J. Ginzburg
2005 Journal of Logic and Computation  
The paper develops a semantics for natural language interrogatives which identifies questionsthe denotations of interrogatives-with propositional abstracts. The paper argues that a theory of Questions as Propositional Abstracts (QPA), is a simple, transparently implementable theory that has significant empirical coverage. However, until recently QPA has been abandoned in formal semantic treatments of questions, due to a number of significant problems QPA encountered when formulated within the
more » ... pe system of Montague Semantics. In recent work, Ginzburg and Sag provided a a situation theoretic implementation of QPA that succeeded in overcoming cerain of the original problems for QPA. However, Ginzburg and Sag's proposal relied on a special purpose account of λ-abstraction, raising the question to what extent QPA can be sustained using standard notions of abstraction. In this paper such doubts are allayed by implementing QPA in a version of Type Theory that provides record types. These latter allow one to develop notions of simultaneous/vacuous abstraction with restrictions and an ontology with various 'informational entities'. Moreover, the intrinsic polymorphism of this theory plays a crucial role in enabling the definition of a general type for questions, one of the main stumbling blocks for earlier versions of QPA. *
doi:10.1093/logcom/exi005 fatcat:7tkxz6cnu5hythia4qgqf3fif4