, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 389-419

Utility, Informativity and Protocols

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Abstract

Recently, natural language pragmatics started to make use of decision-, game-, and information theoretical tools to determine the usefulness of questions and assertions in a quantitative way. In the first part of this paper several of these notions are related with each other. It is shown that under particular natural assumptions the utility of questions and answers reduces to their informativity, and that the ordering relation induced by utility sometimes even reduces to the logical relation of entailment. The second part of the paper shows how different proposals (using either protocols or likelihood functions) to measure the relevance/utility of non-partitional questions come down to the same thing.