Preference Semantics

Yorick Wilks has suggested the use of preferences rather than absolute restrictions for the selection of sense meanings. The preferences are numbers that express the ``goodness of fit'' of representations.

Would you hit a woman with a child?
No, I'd hit her with a brick.
[``The eternal question and immortal answer of burlesque.'' -- e.e. cummings]
The humor derives from the violation of a selection restriction -- the use of child as instrument of the hitting. Preference semantics would indicate that such an interpretation is not preferred, but is not impossible.

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