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AISB event Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PAPERS: AISB Symposium on "Questions, discourse and dialogue: 20 years after, Making it Explicit", AISB-50th anniversary convention, April 1st 4th 2014, Goldsmiths, London, UK

Symposium website:
Convention website:

Submission link:

Contact email for this symposium:


January 3rd 2014: deadline for submission of full papers
February 3rd 2014: notification to authors
February 24th 2014: deadline for final camera-ready copy of full papers and copyright forms
April 3rd 2014: AISB symposium at Goldsmiths


Goldsmiths University of London
Lewisham Way
London SE14 6NW, UK


The ability to engage in a dialogue has been trumpeted as a good indicator of general 
intelligent behaviour since Turing (1950).  Philosophers such as Hamblin (1970), 
Brandom (1994) and Davidson (2001) can be said to have proposed various types of 
linguistic rationalism, the notion that linguistic abilities are a pre- or co-requisite 
for rationality: in Brandom's terms, the hallmark of rationality is the ability to take 
part in the game of giving and asking for reasons.  Indeed, Deligiorgi (2002) already 
finds in Kant the notion that rationality cannot be exercised by a solitary thinker 
but depends on the communication of publicly criticisable judgments.  The capacity to 
engage in a dialogue could very well be AI-complete, i.e., employ all the skills 
abilities that constitute human-level intelligence.
The year 2014 marks several significant anniversaries: one of them is the 20th year 
since the publication of Brandom's Making it Explicit,  a large, complex and difficult 
work in the philosophy of language which Jrgen Habermas likened to Rawls' Theory of 
Justice in terms of its scope and importance within its field.  It is fair to say that 
this work has so far had little direct influence on computational or formal approaches 
to language, though some partial formalisations have been offered by Lance and Kremer, 
Kibble and Piwek.  This symposium will be loosely organised around various themes 
arising from Brandom's work, or questions provoked by it, though participants will 
not necessarily be expected to directly engage with his original texts.  As noted, 
Brandom sees the game of giving and asking for reasons as central to human rationality 
or sapience, but it turns out that he has rather little to say about questions or any 
other speech acts apart from assertion.  Brandom stresses the importance of shared 
material inferences for successful communication, though it is far from clear how 
this common background understanding could be encoded in a computer system.
Suitable subjects will include, but are not limited to:

Inference in dialogue
Commitments, norms, discourse obligations and dialogue games
Intentionality: can discourse and dialogue be modelled without reference 
to mentalistic notions of intention and belief?
Comparison of formalisms for discourse analysis: e.g. RST, SDRT
Argumentation: analysis and representation of argument structure
- what is an appropriate response at a given point in a dialogue?
- what is the optimal ordering of propositions in a discourse?
- how should predicates, referring expressions and rhetorical relations be realised 
(verbally and/or non-verbally) so that the resulting utterance can be interpreted 
naturally and fluently?
- Annotation schemes for discourse relations
Questions and answers:
- Does an account of questions presuppose a model of assertion (or vice versa)?
- Cognitive and computational models of question generation (QG)
- Question taxonomies
- Data collection and preparation for developing, training, and testing QG systems
- Annotation schemes and processes
- Evaluation of generated questions: metrics and methods (human, automatic, semi-automatic)
Contributions will be welcome from all disciplines which include discourse and dialogue in 
their subject matter, including computational linguistics, corpus analysis, psycholinguistics,
 sociolinguistics, philosophy of language, argumentation theory, legal reasoning, literary 
theory and so on.


The symposium is expected to take up one full day,  with up to 9 contributed papers and 
one invited talk of 30 minutes each including time for questions and discussion.  
There may also be a poster session, depending on the number and quality of submissions 
received. Submission will be by means of full papers, using the link
Submissions and final papers must be prepared in LaTeX or MS Word format, using 
templates which can be downloaded from 
Final papers should be no more than 8 pages long (shorter papers are also welcome).
Accepted papers will be published in the general proceedings of the AISB Convention 
with an ISBN number, with the proviso that at least ONE author attends the symposium 
in order to present the paper and participate in general symposium activities. Authors 
of accepted papers will be required to complete a copyright form in advance of the 
convention.  The main purpose of this form is to give AISB permission to publish your 
contribution as part of the printed and electronic proceedings, and there will be no 
further limitation of your rights in the material.
We intend to include a selection of high-quality submissions in a journal special issue.


Professor Ruth Kempson FBA, Kings College London/QMUL.


Dr Rodger Kibble, Goldsmiths University of London (UK)
Dr Paul Piwek, The Open University (UK)
Dr Geri Popova, Goldsmiths University of London (UK)

Contact email:


Robbert-Jan Beun, Utrecht University (Netherlands)
Kristy Elizabeth Boyer, North Carolina State University (US)
Harry Bunt, Tilburg University (Netherlands)
Marc Cavazza, Teesside University (UK)
Yasemin J Erden, St Mary's University College (UK)
Arash Eshghi, Heriot Watt University (UK)
Jonathan Ginzburg, Universit Paris-Diderot, Paris 7 (France)
Pat Healey, QMUL (UK)
Eric Kow, IRIT (France)
James Lester, North Carolina State University (US)
Rodney Nielsen, University of North Texas (US)
Brian Plss, The Open University (UK)
Richard Power, The Open University (UK)
Rashmi Prasad, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (US)
Matthew Purver, QMUL (UK)
Hannes Rieser, University of Bielefeld (Germany)
Vasile Rus, University of Memphis (US)
Amanda Stent, Yahoo! Labs (US)
Matthew Stone, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (US)
Svetlana Stoyanchev, Columbia University (US)
Laure Vieu, IRIT - Universit Paul Sabatier (France)
Xuchen Yao, Johns Hopkins University (US)