Relating imperatives to action

Piwek, Paul (2001). Relating imperatives to action. In: Bunt, Harry and Beun, Robbert-Jan eds. Cooperative multimodal communication. Lecture notes in artificial intelligence series, 2155. Berlin, Germany: Springer, pp. 140–155.



The aim of this chapter is to provide an analysis of the use of logically complex imperatives, in particular, imperatives of the form Do A1 or A2 and Do A, if B. We argue for an analysis of imperatives in terms of classical logic which takes into account the influence of background information on imperatives. We show that by doing so one can avoid some counter-intuitive results which have been associated with analyses of imperatives in terms of classical logic. In particular, I address Hamblin's observations concerning rule-like imperatives and Ross' Paradox. The analysis is carried out within an agent-based logical framework. This analysis explicates what it means for an agent to have a successful policy for action with respect to satisfying his or her commitments, where some of these commitments have been introduced as a result of imperative language use.

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