Computation, Semantics, and Meaning: Adding to an Argument by Michael Gavin

32 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2018

Date Written: August 19, 2018

Abstract

Michael Gavin has published an article in which he uses ambiguity as a theme for juxtaposing close reading, a standard procedure in literary criticism, with vector semantics, a newer technique in statistical semantics with a lineage that includes machine translation. I take that essay as a framework of adding computational semantics to the comparison, which also derives from machine translation. After recounting and adding to Gavin’s account of 18 lines from Paradise Lost I use computational semantics to examine Shakespeare “The expense of spirit”. Close reading deals in meaning, which is ontologically subjective (in Searle’s usage) while both vector semantics and computational semantics are ontologically objective (though not necessarily objectively true, a matter of epistemology).

Keywords: Digital Humanities, Vector Semantics, Statistical Semantics, Computational Linguistics, NLP, Literary Criticism, Computational Semantics, Semantics

Suggested Citation

Benzon, William L., Computation, Semantics, and Meaning: Adding to an Argument by Michael Gavin (August 19, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3235001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3235001

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