Language and Game Theory

This is the website for an ILLC Master of Logic project on Language and Game Theory. Here you can find information about the project, which is coordinated by Giorgio Sbardolini, and is part of the output of EXPRESS.

Dates: June 1st – June 30th 2020

Contact: g.sbardolini at

Course Organization:

Week 1

  • Wednesday June 3rd, 5pm – 6:30pm. Introduction to Game Theory for Linguists I [slides]
  • Friday June 5th, 10am – 11:30am. Introduction to Game Theory for Linguists II [slides]

Week 2

  • Wednesday June 10th, 5pm – 6:30pm. Lying, Persuasion, Honest Talk [slides]
  • Friday June June 12th, 10am – 11:30am. Implicatures [slides]

Week 3

  • Wednesday June 17th, 5pm – 6:30pm. Vagueness and Ambiguity [slides]
  • Friday June 19th, 10am – 11:30am. Student Presentation 1

Week 4

  • Wednesday June 24th, 5pm – 6:30pm. Student Presentation 2
  • Friday June 26th, 10am – 12pm. Individual meetings


Introduction to Game Theory for Linguists

  • M. Franke, Game Theoretic Pragmatics, Philosophy Compass 8(3), 2013: 269–284.
  • G. Jaeger, Applications of Game Theory in Linguistics, Language and Linguistics Compass 2(3), 2008: 406–421.
  • S. Huttegger, Evolution and the Explanation of Meaning, Philosophy of Science 74, 2007: 1–27.
  • A. Benz, C. Ebert, G. Jaeger, R. van Rooij, Language, Games, and Evolution: An Introduction, in A. Benz, C. Ebert, G. Jaeger, R. van Rooij (eds.) Language, Games, and Evolution, chapter 1. Berlin: Springer, 2011: 1–13.

Lying, Persuasion, Honest Talk

  • Kamenica, E. and M. Gentzkow (2011). Bayesian Persuasion, American Economic Review 101: 2590-2615.
  • Crawford, V. (2003). Lying for a strategic advantage, American Economic Review 93: 133-149.
  • Stalnaker, R. (2006) Saying and Meaning, Cheap Talk, and Credibility. In A. Benz, G. Jaeger, and R. van Rooij (eds.) Game theory and Pragmatics, Palmgrave Macmillan, pp. 83-100.
  • Rich, P. and K. Zollman (2016). Honesty through repeated interactions, Journal of Theoretical Biology 395: 238-244; and Maynard Smith, J. (1991). Honest Signalling: The Philip Sidney Game. Animal Behaviour 42: 1034-1035.
  • Sobel, J. (1985). A Theory of Credibility, The Review of Economic Studies 52: 557–573.
  • Rabin, M. (1990). Communication between rational agents. Journal of Economic Theory, 51, 144–70.
  • van Rooij, R. (2003). Quality and quantity of information exchange. Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 12, 423–51


  • Rothschild, D. (2013). Game theory and Scalar Implicatures, Philosophical Perspectives 27: 438-478.
  • Pavan, S. (2013). Scalar Implicatures and Philosophy, Linguistics and Philosophy, 36: 261-290.
  • Benz, A., and J. Stevens (2018). Game-theoretic approaches to Pragmatics, Annual Review of Linguistics 4: 173–191.
  • Franke, M. (2011). Quantity implicatures, Exhaustive Interpretation, and Rational Conversation, Semantics and Pragmatics 4: 1-81.
  • Benz A., and R. van Rooij (2007). Optimal assertions and what they implicate, Topoi 26: 63-78.
  • Franke M., and Jaeger G. (2014). Pragmatic back-and-forth reasoning. In S. Pistoia Reda (ed.) Semantics, Pragmatics, and the case of Scalar Implicatures, Palmgrave Macmillan, pp. 170-200.
  • De Jaegher, K. and R. van Rooij (2014), Game-Theoretic Pragmatics Under Conflicting and Common Interests, Erkenntnis, 79: 769-820.

Vagueness and Ambiguity

  • Parikh, R. (1994). Vagueness and Utility: The Semantics of Common Nouns, Linguistics and Philosophy 17: 521-535.
  • De Jaegher, K. and R. van Rooij (2011). Strategic Vagueness, and Appropriate Contexts. In: Benz A., Ebert C., Jäger G., van Rooij R. (eds) Language, Games, and Evolution. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 6207. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • De Jaegher, K. (2003). A Game-Theoretic Rationale for Vagueness, Linguistics and Philosophy 26: 637-659.
  • Clark, R. and P. Parikh (2007). Game Theory and Discourse Anaphora, Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 16: 265-282.
  • O’Connor, C. (2015). Ambiguity is Kinda Good Sometimes, Philosophy of Science 82: 110-121.
  • O’Connor, C. (2013). The Evolution of Vagueness, Erkenntnis S4: 1-21.