Journal of Philosophical Logic

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 389-419

First online:

Utility, Informativity and Protocols

  • Robert van RooyAffiliated withILLC/, University of Amsterdam

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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.

utility informativity protocols questions assertions