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April 8, 2006

Call for Papers -- Brussels conference June 23-24

First call for papers:

Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models: how realistic are our semantic and pragmatic theories?

Date: 23 June 2006 – 24 June 2006
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Contact Persons: Mikhail Kissine, Philippe De Brabanter
Email addresses: mkissine@ulb.ac.be, phdebrab@yahoo.co.uk

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics; Pragmatics, Philosophy
of Language; Cognitive Science

Call Deadline: 15 April 2006

Meeting Description:
Among the central issues in the philosophy of language, the determination of the content conveyed by sentences on the occasion of their utterance is certainly one that is of major importance to linguists and cognitive scientists. Over the years, a modicum of agreement has emerged as to what aspects of utterance meaning pertain to the most pragmatic layers of interpretation. The focus of the debate has now moved to issues like the literal, truth-conditional or propositional content of utterances: is it entirely a matter for semantics to deal with, or does pragmatics affect that content (and, if so, to what extent)? Around these issues, several major positions have emerged, ranging from so-called ‘radical contextualism’ (pragmatics massively impacts on truth-conditional content) to equally radical ‘semantic minimalism’ (there is no such pragmatic impact), through ‘moderate contextualism’ and ‘truth relativism’

While the debate is still raging, we have thought it useful take a step back and look at how the various theories fit, or can be made to fit, into general models of cognition. We have gone on the assumption that compatibility with a plausible cognitive framework is a legitimate goal for linguistic inquiry. In other words, we endorse the view that theories of language (and language use) should be prepared to commit themselves to at least one conception of the human mind with which they are compatible. We hope that the Brussels workshop will offer an opportunity for language scholars to present their views on the mechanisms underpinning the interpretation of (certain aspects of) utterances. Our expectation is that putting these issues in the light of broader psychological assumptions should clarify the debate about the semantics/pragmatics distinction and provide a fresh perspective for the evaluation of the different schools of thought that attempt to answer the tough question: how much of the meaning of expressions must be accounted for by semantics, and how much by pragmatics?

The following keynote speakers have confirmed their participation:

Herman Cappelen (University of Oslo)
Marc Dominicy (Université Libre De Bruxelles)
François Recanati (Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS Paris)
Deirdre Wilson (University College London)

Abstract submissions:

We welcome submissions of abstracts for 25-minute papers that address the implications of theories of utterance-content for cognitive science, or, conversely, the implications of theories of cognition for our understanding of utterance-content. A non-exhaustive list of topics we expect to be addressed includes: gradable adjectives, quantified expressions, loosening/narrowing of the meaning of predicates, ad hoc concepts, the varieties of quotation, reference and deference. We also welcome papers from scholars who study language development, impaired communication, non-verbal communication and non-human communication.

Important dates
Deadline for abstracts: 15th April
Notification of acceptance: 25th April
Workshop: 23-24th June

Abstract format:
- Only electronic submissions are accepted.
- The abstracts should be submitted to the email address: mkissine@ulb.ac.be, with the following subject line: ‘Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models’
- The abstract should be sent as an attachment to an email message, in either MS Word (.doc), Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf ) format
- The length of the submissions is a maximum of two A4 sides. The abstract should clearly indicate the title of the talk, and may include references.
- The abstracts should be prepared for blind review, and include no indication of the name(s) of the author(s)
- The body of the email message should contain the following information: Name(s) of author(s), affiliation, title of the paper and contact details (postal and email address)
- A maximum of one submission as author, and one as co-author will be considered

The First Brussels Workshop on Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models by The University of Brussels Doctoral School: ‘Theory of mind and language’.

The organizers

Philippe De Brabanter
UFR anglais – Université de Paris4-Sorbonne
Institut Jean Nicod (Paris)
Philippe De Brabanter [phdebrabATyahoo.co.uk]

Mikhail Kissine
Laboratoire de linguistique textuelle et de
pragmatique cognitive
Université Libre de Bruxelles

UFR anglais-Paris4
1, rue Victor Cousin
75005 Paris
Institut Jean Nicod
1bis, avenue de Lowendal
75007 Paris

Institut Nicod
1bis, avenue de Lowendal, 75007 Paris
01 53 59 32 80

Posted by ira at April 8, 2006 3:49 PM


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