Sasa Buvac <buvac@SAIL.Stanford.EDU>
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 19:00:57 -0800
From: Sasa Buvac <buvac@SAIL.Stanford.EDU>
Message-id: <9412110300.AA23035@SAIL.Stanford.EDU>
To:,, htw@HPP.Stanford.EDU,
        ontolingua@HPP.Stanford.EDU, philosophers@csli.Stanford.EDU,
Cc: fikes@HPP.Stanford.EDU,,,
        jmc@SAIL.Stanford.EDU,, stal@MIT.EDU,, buvac@SAIL.Stanford.EDU

We are orgainizing a symposium on formalizing context.  Here is the
call for papers.  Please forward it to anyone you think might be




			AAAI-95 Fall Symposium
		    MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts
			 November 10-12, 1995
			   Call for Papers


The notion of context has played an important role in AI systems for
many years.  However, formal logical explication of contexts remains
an area of research in which there are significant open issues.  This
symposium will provide a forum for discussing formalizations of
contexts, approaches to resolving open issues, and application areas
for context formalisms.

The most ambitious goal of formalizing contexts is to make automated
reasoning systems which are never permanently stuck with the concepts
they use at a given time because they can always transcend the
context they are in.  Such a capability would allow the designer of a
reasoning system to include only such phenomena as are required for
the system's immediate purpose, retaining the assurance that if a
broader system is required later, "lifting rules" can be devised to
restate the facts from the narrow context in the broader context with
qualifications added as necessary.  A formal theory of context in
which sentences are always considered as asserted within a context
could provide a basis for such transcendence.

Formal theories of context are also needed to provide a representation
of the context associated with a particular circumstance, e.g. the
context of a conversation in which terms have particular meanings that
they wouldn't have in the language in general.  Linguists and
philosophers have already studied similar notions of context.  An
example is the situation theory that has been proposed in philosophy
and applied to linguistics.  However, these theories usually lie
embedded in the analysis of specific linguistic constructions, so
locating the exact match with AI concerns is itself a research

This symposium aims to bring together researchers who have studied or
applied contexts in AI or related fields.  Technical papers dealing
with formalizations of context, the problem of generality, and use of
context in common sense reasoning are especially welcome.  However,
survey papers which focus on contexts from other points of view, such
as philosophy, linguistics, or natural language processing, or which
apply contexts in other areas of AI, are also encouraged.


Persons wishing to make presentations at the workshop should submit
papers (up to 12 pages, 12pt font).  Persons wishing only to attend
the workshop should submit a 1-2 page research summary including a
list of relevant publications.  A postscript file or 8 paper copies
should be sent to the program chair.  Limited funding will be
available to support student travel.


    April 14, 1995	    Submission deadline.
    May 19, 1995	    Submitters will be informed of decisions
    August 15, 1995	    Final papers due
    September 20, 1995	    AAAI will mail Working Notes to the participants
    November 10-12, 1995    Fall Symposium 


Sasa Buvac (chair).  Department of Computer Science, Stanford
University, Stanford CA 94305-2140.

Richard Fikes.  Knowledge Systems Laboratory, Stanford University, 
701 Welch Road, Bldg. C, Palo Alto, CA 94304.

Ramanathan Guha.  MCC, 3500, W. Balcones Center Drive, Austin, TX 78759.

Pat Hayes.  Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Av., Urbana, IL

John McCarthy.  Department of Computer Science, Stanford University,
Stanford CA 94305-2140.

Murray Shanahan.  Imperial College, Dept of Computing, 180 Queen's
Gate, London SW7 2BZ, England.

Robert Stalnaker.  20D-220, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy,
M.I.T.  Cambridge, MA 02139.

Johan van Benthem.  Institute for Logic, Language and Computation,
University of Amsterdam, Plantage Muidergracht 24, 1018 TV AMSTERDAM,
The Netherlands.

(Postscript and plain text versions of this announcement are available
through the symposium WWW page at and via anonymous
ftp from in the directory /buvac/95-context-symposium.)