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AISB event Bulletin Item

3rd CALL FOR PAPERS: AISB Symposium on Questions, discourse and dialogue: 20 years after Making it Explicit, AISB-50, 1st-4th April 2014, Goldsmiths, London, UK

Symposium website:
Convention website:
Contact email for this symposium:
         January 13th 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 3 2014: Questions, discourse and dialogue symposium at Goldsmiths
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 and 
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
- Coherence:
	o   what is an appropriate response at a given point in a dialogue?
	o   what is the optimal ordering of propositions in a discourse?
	o   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 
	o   Annotation schemes for discourse relations
- Questions and answers:
	o   Does an account of questions presuppose a model of assertion (or vice versa)?
	o   Cognitive and computational models of question generation (QG)
	o   Question taxonomies
	o   Data collection and preparation for developing, training, and testing QG systems
	o   Annotation schemes and processes
	o   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.
Submissions and final papers must be prepared in LaTeX or MS Word format, using templates which 
can be downloaded from All submissions 
should be as full papers. Both submissions and final papers should be no more than 8 pages long  
- shorter papers are also welcome.
Submissions should be uploaded to the Easychair conference management system via the link
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.
Rodger Kibble, Goldsmiths University of London
Paul Piwek, The Open University
Geri Popova, Goldsmiths University of London
Goldsmiths University of London
Lewisham Way
London SE14 6NW, UK
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)
Raquel Fernandez Rovira, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
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)
Allan Third, The Open University (UK)
Ken Turner, University of Brighton (UK)
Laure Vieu, IRIT - Universit Paul Sabatier (France)
Xuchen Yao, Johns Hopkins University (US)