My 2019 reading list, in brief

Some of the things I read in 2019, together with my reasons for reading them.

Reading list (1) Some pragmatics and language evolution papers. Because I am still trying to figure out what exactly language is for. We’ve seen some cool work on meaning shift in the last years. But why do meanings shift? And what does it tell us about the role of language in human behaviour?

Reading list (2) Papers on aligning / comparing vector spaces. Because the whole “let’s average the utterance of thousands of speakers in a big corpus and pretend it’s language” is rather tedious. My vector space in not your vector space. And we need ways to measure this.

Reading list (3) The ‘historical’ papers of Barbara Partee. Because I was raised thinking the world was divided into Chomskians and anti-Chomskians, cognitivists and formalists, innatists and developmentalists. And all of this is in fact terribly entangled and I want to understand how.

Reading list (4) Neuroscience and engineering papers on the olfactory system of the fruit fly. Because small organisms have beautifully efficient ways to solve complex problems with a few neurons and feedforward architectures. And I think small AI is the future, scientifically and ethically.

Reading list (5) Psychology papers on mental simulation. Because I don’t know how / whether that work overlaps with some of what philosophy and formal semantics have said about possible worlds.

Reading list (6) Pop neuroscience and pop physics books on the notion of time. Because I’d like to finally understand what probabilities are. Damn it.

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