Curriculum Vitæ de Christian Retoré

Employment / emplois :

Diplomas /diplômes:
Research cursus:

I always have been interested in maths, logic and language — in secondary school my favourite classes were maths, French literature and philosophy.

I studied pure maths with a particular interest for geometry and topology. During a 4th year lecture at UPMC i studied the proof of Gödel incompleteness theorems, so i did the 5th year in mathematical logic (proof theory, typed lambda calculus, intuitionistic logic, category theory). My master thesis was on the translation of second order lambda calculus (system F)  in linear logic.

During my PhD (in maths) worked on linear logic, proof nets, denotational semantics in particular coherence spaces — especially for non commutative linear logic à la Abrusci Lambek and pomset logic introduced in my PhD.
The expected applications to theoretical computer science were models of computation, concurrency (e.g. Petri nets).

I then discovered applications of  linear logic to the modelling of natural language syntax thanks to A. lecomte — and this met some earlier interests in linguistics (and followed some lectures in the eighties on linguistics an French literature).
I spent several years on variants and extensions of Lambek grammars based on various kinds of linear logic that accounts for Chomsky minimalist view of natural language syntax.
Of course the interest of such grammars lies in their straightforward interface with logical / compositional semantics, yielding higher order logical formulae using typed lambda calculi. My habilitation (2002) was mainly devoted to lienar logic and applciations to natural language syntax and to a lesser extent to compositonal semantics.

However, compositional semantics accounts for the logical structure of a sentence, "who does what", what is asserted, supposed, refuted etc. but does not draw relations between word meanings, and is able to interpret the meaning less grammatical sentence and does not handle metaphorical meanings. So i worked on integrating lexical semantics into compositional semantics, defining the Montagovian Generative Lexicon.

I recently have the idea that meaning is related to justifications, refutations and argumentations as can be seen in argumentative dialogues and debates: i am defining a view of semantics as  argumentation inspired by proof theoretical semantics, dialogical logic, natural logic. In particular how do we express logical constructions in natural language (e.g. quantification, negation) and, conversely, how can we analyse the logical structure of a sentence, a monologue or, more interestingly,  a debate in natural language.

Some linguistic questions give rise to questions of mathematical logic:

Of course i would love to test — with the help of qualified experimentators— my proposal with psycholinguistics experiments on how we understand some linguistic constructions.

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