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Events in the Philosophy of Language and Mind

event-date: 21.05.2018 - 24.05.2018
Place: Rooms 25 and 28
Section of Logical Rhetoric and the Jagiellonian Centre for the Law, Language, and Philosophy would like to invite everyone interested in the topic to participation in a series of lectures in the philosophy of language and mind, as well as to workshops in the philosophy of language.
Cracow 3rd Series of Lectures in the Philosophy of Language​: Francois Recanati (Institut Jean Nicod, Paris)

21 May 2018, 2 p.m., Room 25 - Speech Acts
Abstract: I will discuss Austin’s ideas, starting from a widely noted ambiguity in his notion of illocutionary act. There are, I will argue, two types of acts which are in fact two aspects of one and unique reality — one aspect that is social or institutional and one that is communicative. After having discussed the relations between the two types of acts, I will introduce a third type of act that is equally rooted in the Austinian theoretical framework: the locutionary act consisting in saying something. I will present a hierarchical conception according to which the concept of social or institutional act (illocutionary act in the strong sense) is the basic notion, and the communicative act (illocutionary act in the weak sense) is defined in relation to the social act. I will argue that, similarly, the locutionary act needs to be defined in relation to the communicative act, which it presupposes.

22 May 2018, 2 p.m., Room 25 - Direct Reference
Abstract: There are two competing notions of direct reference. According to the first, ‘Millian’ notion, a directly referential expression is like a tag which is directy assigned to a particular object without there being ‘a semantic mechanism to search for and determine the referent’ (Marti). Proper names are directly referential in that sense and they stand in contrast to definite descriptions, whose mode of reference determination is satisfactional. According to another, ‘Kaplanian’ notion of direct reference, what characterises direct reference is the fact that the propositional constituent corresponding to a directly referential expression is an object rather than an individual concept or ‘mode of presentation’. No less than proper names, indexicals are, and definite descriptions can be, directly referential in that weaker sense, despite carrying descriptive content. I will defend the Millian position and argue that the mental file framework enables us to make sense of it even with respect to indexicals or referentially used descriptions.

23 May 2018, 2 p.m., Room 25 - Contextualism and Compositionality
Abstract: It has often been observed that the meaning of a word may be affected by the other words which occur in the same sentence. How are we to account for this phenomenon of semantic interaction? I will argue that semantic interaction reduces to context-sensitivity and does not raise unsurmountable problems for standard compositional accounts. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to assume too simple a view of context-sensitivity. In accordance with the contextualist position put forward in Literal Meaning, two basic forms of context-sensitivity will be distinguished, both of which are relevant to semantic interaction. The second form — sense modulation — may be thought to threaten compositionality, but, I will argue, it does not.

Workshop on Context and Content: From Language to Thought, 24 May 2018
invited speakers:
Francois Recanati (Institut Jean Nicod, Paris): Fictional Characters
Abstract: Fictional uses are the uses of fictional proper names (e.g. ‘Sherlock Holmes’) one finds in the fiction in which the names in question are introduced. Such uses are not genuinely referential : they rest on pretence — the pretence that there is an individual the author is referring to. Metafictional uses of proper names (‘Sherlock Holmes was created by Doyle in 1887’) are genuinely referential : they refer to a cultural object, arguably a variety of abstract artefact. In the talk I will discuss a third type of use of fictional names : parafictional uses, illustrated by ‘In the story, Holmes is a clever detective who solves cases for a variety of clients, including Scotland Yard’. I will discuss two approaches to such uses, one that assimilates them to metafictional uses, and another one that assimilates them to fictional uses. I will try to steer a middle course between the two approaches, by exploiting the linguistic notion of a dot-object. In the last part of the talk I will reframe the issue in terms of mental files.
Joanna Odrowąż-Sypniewska (Warsaw University): Subsentential speech acts
Abstract: The most commonly given examples of subsentential speech acts are expressions such as “Nice dress”, “Both hands”, “Where?” spoken in such circumstances in which speakers uttering them are regarded as “making moves in a language game”, e.g., stating, asking, promising, etc. To deal with such acts I’ll suggest an account which is based on Recanati’s moderate relativism (2007). Pace Recanati and following Perry (1986) I’ll claim that, at least in the case of subsentential speech acts, we have to postulate unarticulated constituents in contents as well as in the situations of evaluation. I’ll argue that this view allows replying to the argument from connectivity, which is one of the most important arguments for the claim that such utterances – contrary to appearances – are in fact ellipses, i.e. sentential speech acts. I’ll also criticize certain aspects of Corazza’s (2012) unenriched subsentential illocutions view, which similarly relies on Perry’s insights.
Michael Murez (Université de Nantes): The Transparency of Mental Representations
Concepts are said to be "transparent" if a subject can discern solely through introspection whether or not they are deploying the same one. While there has been much discussion of threats to transparency stemming from semantic externalism, another threat to transparency has garnered somewhat less attention, viz. the identification of concepts with mental representations construed as psychological vehicles. In this talk, I explain why this view of concepts is potentially at odds with transparency, provide an empirical illustration which suggests the tension is real, and critically examine attempts to defend the transparency of mental representations by appealing to metaphysical principles about their conditions of individuation. I sketch a competing "modest" view of transparency, according to which the extent to which a given class of representations is transparent is an empirical issue.
Click on the link to get the programme. 
Cracow 4th Series of Lectures in the Philosophy of Language​: Michael Murez (Université de Nantes)

29 May 2018, 2:30 p.m., Room 28 - Michael Murez: Mental Files: An Introduction
Abstract: This talk will provide an opinionated introduction to the recently popular "mental file framework". We will discuss the prominent role that the notion of a file has played in discussions of singular thought in philosophy of mind, and how this use of the notion relates to others in neighboring areas of cognitive science.

29 May 2018, 7:00 p.m., Room 28 - Michael Murez: Mental Files: Challenges and New Directions
Abstract: This talk discusses various challenges that have been raised against different versions of the mental file framework. These include criticisms of acquaintance or significance constraints on singular thinking, or threats of circularity against file-based accounts of Fregean puzzles about coreference. I argue for a "psychofunctionalist" version of the file framework, which draws more heavily than is customary in philosophy on psychologists' notion of an "object file". I attempt to show that this version of the file framework, while it faces novel challenges of its own, has significant theoretical and empirical virtues.

If you would like to participate in the events, please contact Prof. Katarzyna Kijania-Placek at:
Published Date: 23.02.2015
Published by: Katarzyna Kijania-Placek