Hosted at: The 24th European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information, ESSLLI 2012
Place: University of Opole, Poland, the exact location TBA
Time: everyday from August 6th till August 10th, 9.00-10.30 AM
Brief Description of the Course:
Learning theory, with its central notion of identification in the limit has been formed as an attempt to formalize and understand the process of language acquisition. In accordance with his nativist theory of language and his mathematical approach to linguistics, Chomsky proposed the existence of what he called a language acquisition device, a module that humans are born with, an ‘innate facility’ for acquiring language. This turned out to be only a step away from the formal definition of language learners as functions, that on ever larger and larger finite samples of a language keep outputting conjectures (grammars) corresponding to the language in question. As a result the discipline became concerned with functions that satisfy the limiting conditions of convergence. The observation that such understood reliability is the feature that distinguishes successful learning functions from other possible mindchange policies, led to the re-interpretation of formal learning theory as the framework for analyzing the procedural aspects of science, as a study of information flow and general inquiry.
Nowadays, the dynamics of information is one of the central topics of philosophical logic. In particular, (dynamic) epistemic logic is concerned with formalizing the notions of information state, knowledge update, revision of beliefs, strategies for learning, all in a multi-agent context. On the other hand, formal learning theory gives a computational framework for investigating the process of conjecture change. In fact, the communication between the two is difficult, mostly because of the differences in their methodologies. Learning theory is concerned with the global process of convergence in the context of computability. Belief-revision and dynamic epistemic logic focuses on single steps of revision and constructive manners of obtaining new states, and the perspective here is more logic- and language-oriented. The goal of the course is to present the methodology and some mutual profits of the meet between ‘philosophy of information dynamics’ and formal learning theory.
Course prerequisites and preparations:This is a short monographic course and as such it will advantage students who are familiar with the vocabulary of logic and epistemology. Some acquaintance with basic computability theory and basic modal logic will also be expected of the audience. However, note that:
- the course is planned to be self-contained and self-explanatory;
- reading the suggested bibliography prior to the course is not expected of the participants;
- questions and discussion are welcome during the lectures, and as comments to posts on this website.
Summing up, everyone’s welcome!