School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

People menu

Dr Graham White


Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44 20 7882 5242
Room Number: Peter Landin, CS 408
Office Hours: Tuesday 09:30-10:30, Friday 11:00-11:59


Research Interests:

The focus of my work is the problem of reasoning about human action. This is a theme which has repeated been tackled, both from the side of philosophy and from the side of AI: it has proved remarkably resistant to solution. Any successful formal account of action would have to do at least the following: one would want to know what the contexts of action were (that is, what the subject knows when acting), and one would want a logical system, parametrised by contexts of action, which would represent the sort of reasoning, about our own actions and those of others, which we are capable of. There are a number of criteria against which one would measure such an account. The mere construction of such a system is quite difficult, and imposes quite a lot of constraints of its own: so do standard metatheoretical desiderata. For example, that the system should be independent of the linguistic primitives that one uses to construct it, and that, too, imposes significant constraints on the formalism. There is also a good deal of empirical evidence, mostly from linguistics. Talmy's work in cognitive semantics describes important linguistic universals governing human language about action, and this ought to play a role. Similarly, the theory of speech acts, and particularly Grice's work on implicatures, ought to be formalisable in a successful theory. (Both of these requirements are extraordinarily ambitious.) What I have already done: I have a description of contexts of action which, although not a complete account of real-world concepts, has a good proof theory. It also allows an interpretation in terms of the sort of equational reasoning that Davidson describes in his paper The Logical Form of Action Sentences. I also have an interesting logic of explanation which, when applied to explanations of action, recreates the standard solution of the frame problem. What I am planning to do next: I hope to extend the work on equational concepts of action to include a sort of Heideggerean account of habitual action. I also want to write a philosophical paper on my logic of explanation and show how it deals with Fodor's problems with nonmonotonic logic. Longer term plans: to incorporate this work with work on causal reasoning about action, and particularly with work on actions causing other actions. This will involve more work on contexts of action: I have some conjectures on what suitable contexts might be. What use is this, anyway? A lot of my recent work on action could probably be translated fairly straightforwardly into description logic; this work, then, could be quite semantic web-friendly. Work on speech acts is also important for software agents: agent communication needs some version of speech acts, but as yet there have been no systems with good theory.


  • Oreggia E, White G (2018). When technology goes out of control. nameOfConference
  • White G (2017). Dynamic Syntax and Proof Theory. nameOfConference
  • Black I, White G (2017). Citizen science, air quality, and the internet of things. nameOfConference
  • Ikoro GO, Mondragon RJ, White G et al. (2017). Predicting Response Waiting Time in a Chat Room. nameOfConference
  • Black I, White G (2016). Citizen science, air quality, and the internet of things. nameOfConference
  • White G (2015). Hardware, Software, Humans: Truth, Fiction and Abstraction. nameOfConference
  • Narasimhan KP, White G (2014). Agent clusters: The usual vs. the unusual. nameOfConference
  • Narasimhan KP, White G (2014). Look, who's talking: Simulations of agent clusters. nameOfConference
  • White G (2014). Observer relativity, physical properties and computation. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2014). Pluralism ignored: The Church-Turing thesis and philosophical practice. nameOfConference
  • White G (2014). The elusive low level. nameOfConference
  • Preethi Narasimhan K, White G (2013). An agent-based analyses of f-formations. nameOfConference
  • White G (2013). Notions of information: Remarks on Fresco's paper. nameOfConference
  • White G (2011). Bootstrapping Normativity. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2011). Descartes among the Robots: Computer Science and the Inner/Outer Distinction. nameOfConference
  • Kempson R, Gregoromichelaki E, Meyer-Viol W et al. (2011). Natural-language Syntax as Procedures for Interpretation: the Dynamics of Ellipsis Construal. nameOfConference
  • White G (2011). Semantics, hermeneutics, statistics: Some reflections on the semantic web. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2009). On Scholarship: A Response to Stefik, Foster, and D’Iorio and Berbera. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2008). Causality, Modality and Explanation. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2008). Contexts for Human Action. BCS International Aca demic Conference 2008 – Visions of Computer Science
  • White GG (2008). Davidson and Reiter on Actions. nameOfConference
  • White G (2008). Davidson and Reiter on actions. nameOfConference
  • HEALEY PGT, White G, Eshghi A et al. (2007). Communication Spaces. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2005). Reasoning about Action: Ray Reiter meets Fibred Categories. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2004). Essay Review of D.M. Gabbay and F. Guenther (eds), Handbook of Philosophical Logic, 2nd edn, vol 9, Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer 2002. nameOfConference
  • WHITE GG (2004). The Philosophy of Programming Languages. nameOfConference
  • WHITE GG (2003). A Generalisation of Parsons and Jennings' Theory of Argument". Computational Models of Natural-Language Argument (CMNA'03), 2003
  • White GG (2003). Interpolation for McCain-Turner Causal Theories. nameOfConference
  • WHITE GG (2003). Interpolation for McCain-Turner, Causal Theories Reasoning. Proceedings of Workshop on Nonmonotonic Reasoning, Action, and Change (NRAC'03), 2003
  • White G (2002). A modal formulation of McCain and Turner's theory of causal reasoning. nameOfConference
  • White G (2002). A modal formulation of McCain and Turner's theory of causal reasoning. nameOfConference
  • White G (2002). Handbook of logic in computer science, vol. 5, Logic and algebraic methods. nameOfConference
  • WHITE GG (2002). Intentionality and Circumscription. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Non-Monotonic Reasoning (NMR2002)
  • WHITE GG (2002). Medival Theories of Causality. nameOfConference
  • WHITE GG (2001). A Linear Meta-Interpreter for Reasoning about States and Actions. nameOfConference
  • White GG (2000). Lewis, Causality, and Possible Worlds. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1999). Simulation, Theory, and Cut Elimination. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1998). Lewis, Possible Worlds, and Non-Integrability. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1998). Actions, Ramification and Linear Modalities. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1998). Balls and String. nameOfConference
  • White GG, Bell J, Hodges W (1998). Building Models of Prediction Theories. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1998). Golog and Linear Logic Programming. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1998). Simulation, Ramification, and Linear Logic. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1997). A Linear Meta-Interpreter for the Situation Calculus. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1997). Balls and String: Simulations and Theories. nameOfConference
  • White GG, Bell J, Hodges W (1997). Building Models of Prediction Theories. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1996). Duns Scotus. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1996). Henry of Ghent. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1996). John Buridan. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1996). Nicholas of Autrecourt. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1996). The Design of a Situation-Based Lygon Metainterpreter: I. Simple Changes and Persistence. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1995). Le´sniewski on Definitions. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1994). The Bounds of Axiomatisation. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1994). Category Theory and the Representation of Geometrical Information. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1994). Computer Science and the Ideology of Artificial Intelligence. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1994). Heidegger. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1994). Husserl. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1994). Luther as Nominalist. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1994). Reflections on the Present Conflict. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1993). Are We Finite?. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1993). Category Theory versus Foundations. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1990). Ockham and Wittgenstein. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1989). Luther’s Views on Language. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1989). Pelagianisms. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1987). Ockham and Hume’s Question. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1987). Theology and Logic: The Case of Ebeling. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1984). Karl Barth’s Theological Realism. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1984). Luther on the Limits of Human Activity: Dinner-Parties and Suicide. nameOfConference
  • White GG (1984). Ockham’s Real Distinction between Form and Matter. nameOfConference
Return to top