Computer Laboratory

Course pages 2012–13

Language and Concepts

Reading list

Note that URLs are given for readings, but in some cases these will require login via a Raven password. Some of the additional material is only available in books, all of which are available in the University Library. Please contact the module leader if there are any difficulties with access to material. Additional material: further reading for topics covered in the session. Intended to be useful for essays or to provide more background.
  • Session 1: Introduction. Overview of concepts. Informal concept representation: dictionaries, encyclopedias and folksonomies.

    Required reading:
    Concepts Margolis, Eric and Laurence, Stephen, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), (HTML)

    Additional suggestions:
    Introduction to WordNet: An On-line Lexical Database. George A. Miller, Richard Beckwith, Christiane Fellbaum, Derek Gross, and Katherine Miller. 1993. (pdf)

    Nouns in WordNet: A Lexical Inheritance System. George A. Miller. 1993. (pdf)

    Acquiring Ontological Relationships from Wikipedia using RMRS. Herbelot, A. and Copestake, A. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Web content Mining with Human Language Technologies, 2006, ISWC'06. (pdf)
    There are a large number of papers on ontology extraction --- I have listed this one because it is based on an MPhil project done in the Computer Laboratory.

  • Session 2: Concepts in computer science. Description logics and their use in the semantic web. Terminology databases, taxonomies and ontologies in eScience.

    Required reading:
    Description Logics as Ontology Languages for the Semantic Web Franz Baader, Ian Horrocks and Ulrike Sattler (pdf)
    Understanding of the full formal details won't be necessary.

    Using OWL to model biological knowledge. Robert Stevens, Mikel Egaña Aranguren, Katy Wolstencroft, Ulrike Sattler, Nick Drummond, Matthew Horridge, Alan Rector. Int. J. Human-Computer Studies 65 (2007) 583-594. (pdf)
    Understanding the biology won't be necessary!

    Additional suggestions:
    The Semantic Web Revisited. Shadbolt, N.; Hall, W.; Berners-Lee, T.; , Intelligent Systems, IEEE , vol.21, no.3, pp.96-101, Jan.-Feb. 2006 doi: 10.1109/MIS.2006.62. (pdf)

    Possibly useful for reference:
    Guidelines on Developing Good Ontologies in the Biomedial Domain with Description Logics Schulz et al 2012. (pdf)

  • Session 3: Concepts in linguistics and psychology. Generics. Concepts and compositional semantics.

    Required reading:

    Learning words for kinds: Generic noun phrases in acquisition.
    Susan A. Gelman
    In Weaving a lexicon (2004): 445-484. (pdf)

    Semantics, conceptual spaces and the meeting of minds
    M. Warglien & P. Gärdenfors (2005) (pdf)

  • Session 4: Concepts in computational linguistics. Inference and concepts. Distributional semantics and its relationship to symbolic approaches to concepts.

    Required reading:
    Selected IBM Watson papers (see email)

    Vector space models of lexical meaning Stephen Clark. 2012

  • Session 5: Concepts in cognitive science and philosophy. Grounding. Human concept acquisition and the innateness debate.

    Required reading:

    Bootstrapping and the Origin of Concepts. Susan Carey. Daedalus. Vol. 133, No. 1, On Learning (Winter, 2004), pp. 59-68. Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences (pdf)

    Bootstrapping in a language of thought: a formal model of numerical concept learning. S. T. Piantadosi, J. B. Tenenbaum, and N. D. Goodman (to appear). Cognition. (pdf)

    Additional suggestions:
    Natural Kinds Bird, Alexander and Tobin, Emma, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), (HTML)

  • Session 6: Concepts in neuroscience. Experimental evidence concerning the brain's encoding of word meaning.

    Required reading:
    Brain-language research: Where is the progress? Pulvermüller, F. 2010. Biolinguistics, 4 (2-3), 255-288. (pdf)(this is a link to the whole issue: see pages 255-288)

    Number sense and quantifier interpretation. Robin Clark and Murray Grossman. Topoi (2007) 26:51-62. (pdf)

    Background reading:
    Notes on generalised quantifiers. (pdf)

  • Sessions 7: open session 1.

    Required reading:
    Ontology and the Lexicon Graeme Hirst (pdf)

    Using speakers' referential intentions to model early cross-situational word learning. Frank, M. C., Goodman, N. D., and Tenenbaum, J. B. (2009). Psychological Science, 20, 579-585. (pdf)

    Put my galakmid Coin into the dispenser and kick it: Computational linguistics and theorem proving in a computer game Alexander Koller, Ralph Debusmann, Malte Gabsdil & Kristina Striegnitz Journal of Logic, Language and Information 13 (2):187-206 (2004) (pdf)

    Coordinating Perceptually Grounded Categories through Language: A Case Study for Colour. Steels, L. and Belpaeme, T. (2005) Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28(4):469--89. (pdf)

  • Sessions 8: open session 2.

    Required reading:
    The Brain's concepts: the role of the Sensory-motor system in conceptual knowledge
    Gallese and Lakoff (pdf)

    Discrete combinatorial circuits emerging in neural networks: A mechanism for rules of grammar in the human brain?
    Pulvermüller and Knoblauch (pdf)

    Open Information Extraction: the Second Generation
    Etzioni, Fader, Christensen, Soderland and Mausam (pdf)

    Three types of conceptual change: Belief revision, mental model transformation, and categorical shift.
    Chi, M.T.H. (2008). In S. Vosniadou (Ed.), Handbook of research on conceptual change (pp. 61-82). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. (pdf)


The pdf of any slides will be made available here, but generally not until after the session.
  1. Introduction. Informal concept representation. (pdf of slides)