Fourth Semantic Content Workshop
26–27 November 2012
Provisional list of speakers:
Jeff Speaks (Notre Dame)
Dan Zeman (IJN Paris)
Daniel Cohnitz (Tartu)
Max Kölbel (ICREA/LOGOS/UB Barcelona)
Stefano Predelli (Nottingham)
Isidora Stojanovic (IJN Paris/UPF Barcelona)
The Workshop will be held in Seminari del Dept de Lógica (room 4047) at the Faculty of Philosophy, Universitat de Barcelona, c/Montalegre 6, 08001 Barcelona. Registration will be required (contact Paco Murcia on firstname.lastname@example.org), but will be free.
Monday 26 November 2012
10.30–12.00 Jeff Speaks: "Speaker, hearer, and coordination in the metasemantics of demonstratives"
12.15–13.45 Max Kölbel: "What do Semantic Theories Model?"
15.30–17.00 Isidora Stojanovic: "Postsemantics/Prepragmatics: Widening the Semantics/Pragmatics Boundary"
Tuesday 27 November 2012
10.30–12.00 Daniel Cohnitz: Theories of Reference and their Role in Explaining Successful Communication
12.15–13.45 Dan Zeman: "Temporal Variadic Operators"
15.30–17.00: Stefano Predelli: "'I not so think as you drunk I am': Malapropisms and Other Mistakes"
Max Kölbel: What do Semantic Theories Model?
In this paper, I attempt to develop a coherent conception of how semantic theories model empirical phenomena.
Jeff Speaks: Speaker, hearer, and coordination in the metasemantics of demonstratives
Standard accounts of the metasemantics of demonstratives appeal to demonstrations and speaker intentions. Both face serious problems. Jeff King has recently argued that we can do better by letting facts about (idealized) audiences play a role. I present some problems for his view, and argue that a more sophisticated version of the intention theory fares better.
Isidora Stojanovic: Postsemantics/Prepragmatics:Widening the Semantics/Pragmatics Boundary
One of the most important and, at the same time, most controversial issues in metasemantics is the question of what semantics is, and what distinguishes semantic features (properties, phenomena, processes, or whatever) for other features (or whatever else). The issue is intimately linked with the debate over the semantics-pragmatics distinction, which has been vibrant for a decade or two, but seems to be reaching an impasse. This paper argues that a possible reason for this may be the failure to recognize a distinct realm, which should not be subsumed under either semantics or pragmatics, but may be labeled "postsemantics" – or, for that matter, "prepragmatics". The ultimate goal of the paper is to put forward and defend a new picture of our language architecture, according to which: semantic content is strictly poorer than the lexically encoded content (and therefore doesn't involve or depend on any contextually determined elements, not even the reference of indexicals and demonstratives); pragmatics, as it is commonly assumed, does not reach into truth-conditions and does not affect truth-value, and its mechanisms require the capacity of representing, and reasoning about, one's beliefs and intentions; and, finally, there is a distinctive postsemantic/prepragmatic level, at which sentences and/or utterances get evaluated for their truth value (but also for other properties, such as their modal status or their assertoric content), and which takes into account various contextual information.
Dan Zeman: Temporal Variadic Operators
In this paper I introduce and develop an approach to tenses and temporal expressions that treats them by appeal to variadic operators (operators from predicates to predicates). Although diverging from standard temporalist treatments that see tenses and temporal expressions as sentential operators, the approach nevertheless supports temporalism in the sense that it allows verbs to be understood as temporally neutral. Thus, I first introduce variadic operators and show that similar tools have been employed by philosophers and linguists working in different frameworks, dispelling the feeling of oddness that variadic operators have given rise to. Then I show in detail how tenses and temporal expressions are treated by appeal to temporal variadic operators, conceived in the manner of Recanati (2007). Finally, I test the approach by tackling some hard cases, such as sequence of time phenomena, temporal anaphora, etc.