Daniel Lassiter

Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Stanford University

Research areas:

Contact: danlassiter [at sign] stanford [dot] edu

Research overview

My research focuses on theories of meaning and reasoning, and their role in communication. I use logical, computational, and experimental methods to bring together the insights of linguistic semantics & pragmatics with philosophical and psychological work on reasoning and decision making. Much of my work has focused the use of probabilistic models to illuminate linguistic phenomena such as vagueness, presupposition, implicature, and the lexical semantics of modals and conditionals.

CV

All courses

Tools

Writing

Now published!

Order through OUP here.

Chapters:
  • Gradation, scales, and degree semantics
  • Measurement theory and the typology of scales
  • Previous Work on Graded Modality: Lewis and Kratzer
  • Epistemic Adjectives: Likely and Probable
  • Certainty and possibility
  • Implications for the epistemic auxiliaries
  • Scalar goodness
  • Ought and should
(You can also find a pre-final draft here.)

Recent

Complex sentential operators refute unrestricted Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents
     Semantics & Pragmatics.
Modal language and Bayesian reasoning I: The expression of uncertainty
     Under review.
Representing credal imprecision: From sets of measures to hierarchical Bayesian models
     Under review.
An experimental look at the negative implications of exceptives [with P. Nadathur]
     To appear in Proceedings of NELS 48.
Talking about (quasi-)higher-order uncertainty
     To appear in Condoravdi & King (eds.), Tokens of Meaning: Papers in Honor of Lauri Karttunen.
Graded modality
     Draft of a survey article.
What do eye movements in the visual world reflect? A case study from adjectives [w/C. Qing and J. Degen]
     Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

2017

Graded Modality: Qualitative and Quantitative Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
     [See above for details]
Complex antecedents and probabilities in causal counterfactuals
     Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium.
Probabilistic language in indicative and counterfactual conditionals
     Semantics and Linguistic Theory 27.
Bayes nets and the dynamics of probabilistic language
     Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21.
Review of Y. Winter, Elements of Formal Semantics
     Journal of Linguistics. [Publisher's version]

2016

Must, knowledge, and (in)directness
      Natural Language Semantics. [Publisher's version] [Data and analysis code]
Embedded implicatures as pragmatic inferences under compositional lexical uncertainty [w/C.Potts, R.Levy, and M.Frank]
     Journal of Semantics. [Publisher's version] [experiment, data, and model code]
Linguistic and philosophical considerations on Bayesian semantics
     In M. Chrisman & N. Charlow (eds.), Deontic Modals, OUP.
A rational speech-act model of projective content
     Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. [w/ C.Qing and N.Goodman]

2015

How many kinds of reasoning? Inference, probability, and natural language semantics [w/N.Goodman]
     Cognition. [Publisher's version] [Data, etc.]
Adjectival vagueness in a Bayesian model of interpretation [w/N.Goodman]
     Synthese. [Publisher's version]
Probabilistic Semantics and Pragmatics: Uncertainty in Language and Thought [w/N.Goodman]
     Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory — 2nd edition, ed. C. Fox & S. Lappin. [Link to book website]
Adjectival modification and gradation
     Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory — 2nd edition, ed. C. Fox & S. Lappin. [Link to book website]
Unless: An experimental approach [with P. Nadathur]
     Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 2014.

2014

The weakness of must: In defense of a Mantra
     Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 24.
     [Superseded by "Must, knowledge, and (in)directness", published in Natural Language Semantics in 2016.]
Modality, scale structure, and scalar reasoning
     Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. [Publisher's version]
Epistemic comparison, models of uncertainty, and the disjunction puzzle
     Journal of Semantics. [Publisher's version]

2013

Context, scale structure, and statistics in the interpretation of positive-form adjectives
     Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 23. [w/N.Goodman]
Conditional antecedents provide no evidence for a grammatical theory of scalar implicature
     Draft, 11/19/13. Comments welcome.

2012

Presuppositions, provisos, and probability
     Semantics & Pragmatics 5(2): 1-37.
Quantificational and modal interveners in degree constructions
     Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 22.
Communicating with epistemic modals in stochastic λ-calculus
     Draft, w/N.Goodman. Comments welcome.
How many kinds of reasoning? Inference, probability, and natural language semantics
     Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. [w/N.Goodman]

2011

Measurement and Modality: The Scalar Basis of Modal Semantics
      Ph.D. dissertation, NYU Linguistics, 2011 (supervisor: Chris Barker).
Nouwen's puzzle and a scalar semantics for obligations, needs, and desires
     Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 21.
Vagueness as probabilistic linguistic knowledge
      In R. Nouwen et al. (eds.), Vagueness in Communication.
Anaphoric properties of which and the syntax of appositive relatives
      NYU Working Papers in Linguistics.

2010

Gradable epistemic modals, probability, and scale structure
     Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 20, 2010.
The Algebraic Structure of Amounts: Evidence from Comparatives
      In T. Icard & R. Muskens (eds.), Interfaces: Explorations in Logic, Language, and Computation.
Where is the Conflict between Internalism and Externalism? A Reply to Lohndal and Narita
      Biolinguistics 4(3): 138-148.
Explaining a restriction on the scope of the comparative operator
      Penn Working Papers in Linguistics.
Semantic Normativity and Coordination Games: Social Externalism Deflated
      Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10(10): 37-56.

2009

Symmetric Presupposition Satisfaction is Mid-Sentence Presupposition Correction
      Presented at the ESSLLI workshop New Directions in the Theory of Presupposition organized by N. Klinedinst & D. Rothschild.

2008

Semantic Externalism, Language Variation, and Sociolinguistic Accommodation (2008)
      Mind and Language. [Publisher's version]

Edited volume: Daniel Lassiter and Marija Slavkovik (eds). New Directions in Logic, Language, & Computation. Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 7415. Springer, 2012 (250pp).