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Philosophy of language has witnessed important developments over the last ten years, focusing on the interplay between meaning and context, as well as the role of implicit content in linguistic communication. The progress made by philosophers of language on those issues is closely connected with the research of linguists on the semantics/pragmatics interface. These various advances will be reviewed and assessed from the perspectives of both philosophy of language and linguistics.

The event will be mixed: part conference and part summer school (with the sponsorship of CNRS), it will also be a meeting point for two European networks of researchers working on the themes of the meeting. There will be a series of symposia on specific topics; mini-courses given by specialists of the field; presentations by selected international graduate students and young scholars; and meetings/workshops organized by the two research networks.


Tuesday May 31

Presentation of the Center, the conference and participants

Wednesday June 1
Mini-course 1a
Stephen NEALE (CUNY, Graduate Center): Blueprints, I

Mini-course 1b
Stefano PREDELLI (U. Nottingham): Non Truth-conditional Semantics, I

Symposium A: Intuitions and Experiments in Semantics and PragmaticsEmmanuel CHEMLA (CNRS) & Nat HANSEN (CNRS) [Experimenting on Contextualism]

Geoffrey NUNBERG (U. Berkeley): A Minimal Semantics for Derogatives, or Being Mean Without Meaning

Thursday June 2
Mini-course 3a
Benjamin SPECTOR (CNRS): Interrogatives and the semantics/pragmatics divide, I

Mini-course 2b
Stefano PREDELLI (U. Nottingham): Non Truth-conditional Semantics, II

Young Researchers Sessions
Parallel Session 1: Lavi WOLF (An interpersonal approach to predicates of personal taste), Hazel PEARSON (A judge-free semantics for predicates of personal taste), Sarah-Jane CONRAD (How much context can a language bear?), Alison HALL ("Free" pragmatic processes, explicature, and systematicity)
Parallel Session 2: Thiago N GALERY (Donkey and deferred pronouns revisited), Marie-Christine MEYER (Or Else, A New Kind of Disjunction), Vincent RICHARD (Weather predicates and context dependency), Anouch BOURMAYAN (From incorporation to pragmatic enrichment: shifting the perspective on implicit indefinite objects)
Parallel Session 3: Jonas AKERMAN (Intuitions and Indexical Reference), Tim SUNDELL (Understanding Normative Disagreement), Yuuki OHTA & Emanuel VIEBAHN (In Defence of Semantic Modesty), Indrek REILAND (Linguistic Meanings and Semantic Rules)

Michael DEVITT: What’s Wrong with Linguistic Contextualism?

Friday June 3
Mini-course 1b
Stephen NEALE (CUNY, Graduate Center): Blueprints, II

Mini-course 3b
Benjamin SPECTOR (CNRS): Interrogatives and the semantics/pragmatics divide, II


Saturday June 4
PETAF Workshop Day 1 (Organizer: Isidora STOJANOVIC, Coordinator: Tom AVERY)
Keynote talk: Michael DEVITT: What makes a property "semantic"?
Paul EGRÉ: How many degrees of truth for vague predicates?

Ivan KASA (Stockholm): Content and Logical Form in Neo-Fregeanism
Hanoch BEN-YAMI (CEU Budapest): How to bind donkeys: on conditional donkey anaphora
Robert MICHELS (Geneva): Two Kinds of Actually-Operators
Peter PAGIN (U. Stockholm): Shifting parameters and propositions

Sunday June 5
PETAF Workshop Day 2
Matias GARIAZZO (London): Faultless disagreement and truth relativism
Barry C. SMITH (Birkbeck College, London): Understanding Taste and Assessing Contexts of Assessment
Manuel GARCÍA-CARPINTERO (Barcelona) & Teresa MARQUES (U. Lisbon): The presuppositional account of the disagreement data

Dan LOPEZ DE SA (U. Barcelona): Expressing Disagreement: A Presuppositional Indexical Contextualist Relativist Account
François RECANATI (CNRS): Co-Reference De Jure in the Mental-File Framework

PETAF board meeting

Monday June 6
Young Researchers Sessions
Parallel Session 1: Vassilis TSOMPANIDIS (Tensed Belief as De Re Belief), Craig FRENCH (Against two ways of Motivating Perceptual Contextualism)
Parallel Session 2: Sanna HIRVONEN (Perspective Dependence and Semantic Blindness), Ben LENNERTZ (Epistemic Modals and Hedges), Mark CRILEY (Cappelen, Content Relativism, and the Creative Interpreter)

Symposium B: Is Compositionality a Substantial Constraint?: Adrian BRICIU (U. Barcelona) [Compositionality and Semantic Theories], David REY (U. Barcelona) [Is Compositionality a Substantial Constraint for Formal Semantics?], Max KÖLBEL (U. Barcelona) [Compositionality as a Methodological Principle?]
[In parallel with Young Researchers Sessions]

Parallel Session 1: Elmar GEIR UNNSTEINSSON (What is in a sentence?), Zachary ABRAHAMS (Underspecification, Specification, Overspecification), Thomas HODGSON (Underdeterminacy & Attitude-reports), Delia BELLERI (Semantic Under-determinacy)
Parallel Session 2: Ingrid LOSSIUS FALKUM (A pragmatic account of systematic polysemy), Jeffery B. PRETTI (Substitution, Simple Sentences, and Designating Disguises), Alexander DAVIES (Two conceptions of context-sensitivity: idle outsourcing and calibration), Dirk KINDERMANN (Assertion, Relativism, and the de se)
Parallel Session 3: Matt MOSS (Impossibility and Epistemic ‘Might’), Edison BARRIOS (Meaning Shift and the Purity of "I"), Julie HUNTER (Now: A Discourse-Based Theory), Daniel HARRIS (Meaning, Content, and Illocution)

Tuesday June 7
Symposium C: Audience sensitivity: Andrew EGAN (Rutgers) [What Kind of Relativism is Right for You?], Tamina STEPHENSON (U. Yale) [The Pragmatics of Relative Truth]



Zachary ABRAHAMS: Underspecification, Specification, Overspecification
Lexical underspecification is the view that the meaning of an expression *underspecifies* the contribution that expression makes to the interpretation of sentences containing it. In this paper I argue against the application of underspecification to light verbs. I claim that the lexical meanings of light verbs *overspecify* their semantic contributions — the meanings will include the information required to fully specify a multitude of semantic contributions. I begin by formulating underspecification more precisely. I characterize three different versions of lexical underspecification: feature, structure, and process underspecification. Turning to light verbs, I look at cases of dialectical variation in the use of these verbs, arguing that these dialectical differences must be underwritten by differences in lexical meaning. The underspecification views I canvas do not have the resources to explain these differences in meaning. As a result, a theorist who claims light verbs are context-sensitive should hold that light verbs overspecify their semantic contributions.

Jonas AKERMAN: Intuitions and Indexical Reference
Proponents of different philosophical theories often present examples in order to generate certain intuitions about the issue under discussion, which intuitions are then to be used as a theory neutral basis of evaluation. An obvious problem with this method is that philosophers tend to diverge in their responses to these examples. In this paper, I focus on the debate on indexical reference, and discuss various possible sources for the divergent responses to the relevant examples. It will be argued that the responses are typically not properly described as purely intuitive responses. In addition, I will consider the possibility of invoking certain theoretical considerations in order to resolve the conflicts.

Edison BARRIOS: Meaning Shift and the Purity of "I"
In this paper I defend the “Standard View” of the semantics of ‘I’ – according to which ‘I’ is a pure, automatic indexical – from a challenge posed by Mount (2008). Mount claims that intentions have a semantic role in fixing the reference of ‘I’. She bases her claim on a series of “deferred reference” cases, in which occurrences of ‘I’ are (allegedly) not speaker-referential, and thus non-automatic. In reply, I offer an alternative account of the cases in question, which I call the “Description Analysis” (DA). According to DA, seemingly deferred-referential occurrences of the 1st person pronoun are interpreted as constituents of a definite description, whose operator scopes over an open sentence Rxy – where R is a contextually selected relation ranging over pairs of people and objects. The role of intentions is thus limited to the determination of R, which is posterior to the fixation of the reference of ‘I’. In support of the DA I present evidence that, in the cases in question, the (Determiner) phrase containing ‘I’ behaves in relevant ways like a description. I also argue that the DA can account for Mount’s examples, while preserving the simplicity of the standard semantics of ‘I’.

Delia BELLERI: Semantic Under-determinacy
The thesis of semantic under-determinacy (SU) states that the meaning of sentences like "The leaves are green", "Jill is ready" or "It's raining" fails to determine the truth-conditions of their utterances. What does this mean exactly? There can be two readings of (SU). The first reading has it that meaning under-determines truth-conditions because meaning itself is indeterminate. The second reading has it that sentence meaning is determined, even though it doesn't determine the content-in-context of utterances. I argue that, on the one hand, the first reading is incompatible with standard truth-conditional semantics while, on the other hand, the second reading is too generic, for it covers also phenomena like indexicality. I then propose a notion of semantic under-determinacy as sentence under-articulation. The idea is that the meaning of sentences under-determines the truth-conditions of utterances because sentences like "The leaves are green", "It's raining" etc. do not articulate enough linguistic material in order for them to give the truth-conditions of their utterances.

Hanoch BEN-YAMI: How to bind donkeys: on conditional donkey anaphora
Consider the pronoun ‘it’ in the following donkey sentence: (D) If Sancho bought a donkey, he beat it.
‘It’ cannot pick up the reference of an earlier term in the sentence, for no specific donkey was mentioned. For that reason sentence (D) was originally analysed as universally quantified, synonymous with ‘For every donkey, if Sancho bought it, he beat it’. But although it is agreed that this analysis gives the correct truth conditions, it is problematic. It considers the indefinite noun phrase ‘a donkey’ in (D) as a universally quantified noun phrase, while such a noun phrase usually behaves as existentially quantified. Treating the indefinite in (D) as having universal force might seem ad hoc. In my talk I shall derive the universal force of ‘a donkey’ in sentence (D) from other accepted facts about conditionals and indefinites. In this way the difficulty will be eliminated and the original analysis of (D) will not only become acceptable, but will even become a necessary consequence of other accepted facts.

Anouch BOURMAYAN: From incorporation to pragmatic enrichment: shifting the perspective on implicit indefinite objects
Some verbs, like eat, bake, read, hunt..., can appear without any overt direct object and still receive an interpretation involving a semantic indefinite object, either existential and hence roughly equivalent to "something", or still indefinite but with a more specialized meaning. Beside their existential value, these implicit indefinite objects (IEO), including both implicit existential objects (IEO) and implicit specialized objects (ISO), share specific properties, like that of always taking narrow scope with respect to other sentence operators, and being incompatible with personal datives. Marti (2009, 2010, 2011) argues that the right analysis of IIO is a "grammatical" rather than a pragmatic one. Her argument is two-fold. First, she argues that IIO must be instances of incorporated nouns, since they behave in all relevant respects like them. Second, she claims that pragmatic analyses of IIO cannot account for their specific properties. In this paper, I offer a pragmatic analysis of IIO according to which IEO metaphysical unarticulated constituents, while ISO result from free pragmatic enrichment. I show that this analysis rightly predicts the specific properties of IEO, and I conclude that the striking similarity between IIO and incorporated nouns may in fact be evidence in favor of a pragmatic rather than a grammatical view on IIO.

Adrian BRICIU: Compositionality and Semantic Theories
My discussion will center on the claim that compositionality is a falsifiable thesis about natural languages. More exactly I will look at what commitments a semantic theorist must adopt if she claims that compositionality is falsifiable. This might shed light on the nature of compositionality.  For the purpose of illustration I will focus on examples coming from the contextualist literature, since many contextualists have argued that compositionality doesn’t hold for English.

Adrian Briciu is student member of the LOGOS Research Group and member of the project ‘Semantic Content and Context Dependence Project’. He is PhD student at the University of Barcelona, affiliated to the Cognitive Science and Language programme. He obtained his MA from this program and obtained an MPhil in Philosophy from Central European University in Budapest, and a BA in philosophy from University of Timisoara (Romania). His current interests include philosophy of language, formal semantics and philosophy of linguistics.

Emmanuel CHEMLA & Nat HANSEN :Experimenting on Contextualism
Recent experiments have generated evidence that appears to conflict with contextualist accounts of knowledge ascriptions (see, e.g., Beebe (2011); Buckwalter (2010); Schaffer and Knobe (2010)). Defending contextualism, Keith DeRose (forthcoming) has argued that existing experimental studies are flawed and therefore do not threaten (at least one prominent version of) contextualism. We explain and evaluate DeRose’s criticisms of experimental studies of contextualism and we put his methodological recommendations to the test by running a new survey involving judgments about knowledge ascriptions. Our study confirms some of DeRose’s criticisms of existing studies but problematizes one important feature of his recommended approach to constructing contextualist experiments. Our study also reveals differences between responses to contextualist cases involving ”knows” and cases involving other expressions of interest to contextualists (such as color adjectives). We conclude by reflecting on the importance of experimental design for both thought experiments and surveys.

Beebe, James R. \Experimental Epistemology.", 2011. In press.
Buckwalter, Wesley. \Knowledge Isn't Closed on Saturdays." Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2010).3: 395{406.
DeRose, Keith. \Contextualism, Contrastivism, and X-Phi Surveys.", 2011. Forthcoming in Philosophical Studies.
Schaffer, Jonathan and Knobe, Joshua. \Contrastive Knowledge Surveyed." Noûs (2010): 1-34.

Sarah-Jane CONRAD: How much context can a language bear?
According to John MacFarlane, Contextualism wrongly assumes the meaning of expressions such as ‘tall’ or ‘small’ to be too weak for determining a truth-evaluable content when used in a sentence. The theory advocated by MacFarlane himself, i.e. Non-Indexical Contextualism, takes uttered sentences to express a proposition and have an intension. Yet, in order to determine their truth-value, additional information provided by points of evaluation are required, in particular information related to the so-called ‘counts-as’-parameter. MacFarlane’s approach risks, however, to suffer from the very same weakness he accuses Cappelen and Lepore’s intensions to have: Intensions of contrary sentences such as ‘John is tall’ and ‘John is small’ can no longer be distinguished. MacFarlane’s problem raises the question how much context a language can bear.

Mark CRILEY: Cappelen, Content Relativism, and the Creative Interpreter
In recent work, Herman Cappelen has defended a position he calls content relativism (CR): the thesis that one and the same utterance may have different content at different contexts of assessment or interpretation. In his most recent treatment of the topic, "The Creative Interpreter" (2008), Cappelen argues for CR using examples involving prescriptive language: instructions, orders, and laws. In the first part of this paper, I point out some problems in Cappelen’s arguments for CR ; in the second part, I suggest a way of reformulating CR and the arguments for it that avoids these problems. I argue that Cappelen’s version of CR and his argument for it get us off on the wrong foot for thinking about the contributions that interpreters make to the content of legal language in particular and to interpretive-sensitive terms in general. I argue that other examples of interpretation-sensitive terms — including due process and cruel — really do motivate a version of content relativism.  However, when we develop CR in order to accommodate these examples, it will end up taking rather a different form from what Cappelen has laid out for us.

Alexander DAVIES: Two conceptions of context-sensitivity: idle outsourcing and calibration
I distinguish two ways to understand context-sensitivity. On one, context-sensitivity is redundant in that if it were removed our capacity to communicate with one another would not be harmed and might even be improved (cf. Frege (1948, p.211) and Cappelen and Lepore (2005, chapter 8)). Context-sensitivity is an idle outsourcing of work that could be done by symbols, their meaning, and their structure alone. On the other, context-sensitivity is necessary for communicating informatively. It is a phenomenon comparable to the calibration which the extension of theoretical terms undergoes when controlling for the idiosyncratic confounding factors of the circumstance in which the theory is being applied (cf. Hempel (1988)). This second understanding favours a proposal by Barba (2007), Diamond (1981), and Travis (2009) about the relation between formal semantics and natural language.

Michael DEVITT: What’s Wrong with Linguistic Contextualism?
The paper argues that writings of linguistic contextualists embody three important mistakes:
1. The confusion of the metaphysics of meaning, focused on the speaker and concerned with what constitutes what is said, meant, etc., with the epistemology of interpretation, focused on the hearer and concerned with how the hearer tells what a speaker said, meant, etc..
2. The acceptance of “Modified Occam’s Razor,” understood as advising against the positing of a new sense wherever the message can be derived by a pragmatic inference.
3. The urging of “Truth-Conditional Pragmatics” according to which the meaning of the sentence in an utterance does not alone yield a truth-conditional content (even after disambiguation and reference fixing); it needs to be pragmatically supplemented and can be so in indefinitely many ways yielding indefinitely many truth conditions.

Michael DEVITT: What makes a property "semantic"?
It is common to distinguish the "semantic" properties of an utterance from its "pragmatic" properties, and what is "said" from what is "meant". What is the basis for putting something on one side rather than the other of these distinctions? Such questions are usually settled largely by appeals to intuitions. The paper rejects this approach arguing that we need a theoretical basis for these distinctions. This is to be found by noting that languages are representational systems that scientists attribute to species to explain their communicative behaviors. We then have a powerful theoretical interest in distinguishing, (a), the representational properties of an utterance that arise simply from the speaker’s exploitation of a linguistic system from, (b), any other properties that may constitute the speaker’s "message". I call the former properties "semantic", the latter, "pragmatic". The semantic ones are constituted by linguistic conventions, disambiguations, reference fixings, and, I suspect, nothing else. The consequences of this for the semantics-pragmatics debate are briefly indicated.

Michael Devitt (PhD Harvard) is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He formerly taught at the Universities of Sydney and Maryland. His works include: Designation (1981), Coming to Our Senses (1996), Language and Reality (with Kim Sterelny) (2nd edn. 1999), Ignorance of Language (2006), "Referential Descriptions and Conversational Implicatures" (2008), "Deference and the Use Theory" (2010), "Still Against Direct Reference" and "The Role of Intuitions" (both forthcoming).

Andrew EGAN: What Kind of Relativism is Right for You?
There are a number of different varieties of relativism (or at least, views going by the name "relativism") on the market nowadays.  I distinguish between several of them, and argue that we ought to prefer a sort of relativism based on David Lewis's and Roderick Chisholm's proposal that we take the objects of the attitudes to be properties.

Paul EGRÉ: How many degrees of truth for vague predicates?
The object of this talk is to make a case for the idea that the right semantic framework for vague predicates is three-valued logic. On the view I favor, classical bivalent logic is too coarse-grained to accommodate vagueness, while standard fuzzy logic is unnecessarily fine-grained. My discussion will center on N. Smith's recent account of vagueness, exposed in Vagueness and Degrees of Truth. N. Smith advocates a degree-theoretic account of vague predicates, intended to make sense of the principle of closeness. Closeness says that if two objects x and y are similar in Prelevant respects, then the truth value of P(x) and the truth-value of P(y) should be close (though possibly distinct). One of the claims made by Smith is that the principle of closeness requires introducing of a large number of degrees of truth. In effect, Smith uses continuum many values, as in standard fuzzy logic. Smith's notion of logical consequence for fuzzy logic, on the other hand, is non-standard and is defined in a way that makes it coincide with classical logic. In recent work with Cobreros, Ripley and van Rooij, we proposed a semantic framework for vague predicates originally built on a two-valued architecture, but naturally embeddable in a three-valued setting, and sharing some significant features with Smith's notion of logical consequence. I will present some of this ongoing work, suggesting that Smith's notion of closeness can be adequately captured using only three truth values. The aim of the talk, more broadly, is to contribute to a better understanding of the notion of semantic value for sentences.

Craig FRENCH: Against two ways of Motivating Perceptual Contextualism
I aim to defend the principle that if S sees an attached proper part of a material object then S must see that object. Part of the defence involves an elaboration of and challenge to what I’ll call perceptual contextualism, which, restricted to "sees", is the view that "sees" or "sees o" is semantically context sensitive. One might try to support such contextualism with pairs of cases one of which violates the aforementioned principle. That is, with pairs, A and B, where we hold constant that one sees an attached proper part of o (and other perceptual conditions), but vary other "contextual" factors such that in A we take "sees o" to be truly ascribable to our subject, yet in B — pace the principle — we don’t. I consider two sorts of such cases. One might try to explain the data with some version of contextualism. I offer an alternative non-contextualist explanation of the two sorts of cases that exploits the fact that "sees" is massively polysemous.

Thiago N GALERY: Donkey and deferred pronouns revisited
This talk aims to revisit some of the interpretative properties of donkey pronouns — expressions whose interpretation depends on some other expression, which cannot bind them — and deferred pronouns expressions which depend on the identification of an individual in context, but whose interpretation is descriptive. I aim to show that there are remarkable similarities between the two sets of data and I propose a combination of Dynamic Syntax (Kempson et al 2001, Cann et al 2005) and Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995, Carston 2002) as a unified explanation for it.

Manuel GARCÍA-CARPINTERO & Teresa MARQUES: The presuppositional account of the disagreement data
In a series of papers, Dan López de Sa has defended a version of contextualism concerning predicates of taste (and predicates of aesthetic and moral evaluation) on which impressions of disagreement (regarding which such accounts are claimed to founder by relativists) are accounted for by appeal to presuppositions of commonality they are supposed to carry. Recently Carl Baker has published a thorough criticism of the approach. In this paper, we will first (i) reply to Baker's criticism, (ii) offer a different criticism of López de Sa proposal of our own, and (iii) defend a modified form of the contextualism-cum-presuppositions-of-commonality approach to predicates of taste, on which what is presupposed to be shared by speakers are practical attitudes – a view.
We suggest applies also to racial epithets. We close by comparing the proposal to a purely contextualist view recently defended by Schaffer, and to a relativist one advanced by Egan.

Manuel García-Carpintero works on the Philosophy of Language, particularly on matters in the semantics-pragmatics interface. In relation with the themes of the conference. he has recently published the following papers: "Relativism, the Open Future, and Propositional Truth", in F. Correia & A. Iacona (eds.), Around the Tree, Synthese Library, Springer ; "Double-duty Quotation, Conventional Implicatures and What Is Said", in E. Brendel, J. Meibauer & M. Steinbach (eds.): Understanding Quotation, Mouton Series in Pragmatics 7, forthcoming; "Linguistic Meaning and Propositional Content", in Belén Soria & Esther Romero (eds.), Explicit Communication. Robyn Carston's Pragmatics, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 ; "Norms of Presupposition", in L. Baptista and E. Rast (eds.) Meaning and Context, Frankfurt/M., Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, Peter Lang, 2010, 17-50 ; "Fictional Singular Imaginings", in Jeshion, R. (ed.), New Essays on Singular Thought, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, 273-279 ; "Fictional Entities, Theoretical Models and Figurative Truth", in Frigg, R, and Hunter, M. (eds.), Beyond Mimesis and Convention – Representation in Art and Science, Springer, 2010, 139-68 ; "Supervaluationism and the Report of Vague Contents", in S. Moruzzi & R. Dietz. (eds.), Cuts and Clouds: Essays in the Nature and Logic of Vagueness, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, 345-359 ; "Relativism, Vagueness and What Is Said", in García-Carpintero, M. & Kölbel, M. (eds.), Relative Truth, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Matias GARIAZZO: Faultless disagreement and truth relativism
Some proponents of truth relativism have claimed that the purported phenomenon of faultless disagreement constitutes evidence in support of their view, since truth relativism, unlike other views, succeeds in accounting for it. The aim of this essay is to argue that if there were cases of faultless disagreement none of the truth relativist positions would succeed in accounting for them. I reach this conclusion by arguing in favor of four main points: (i) moderate relativism does not offer good reasons to view alleged cases of faultless disagreement as genuine disagreements; (ii) the views known as moderate and radical truth relativism are, from a metaphysical point of view, realist positions; (iii) a metaphysical truth relativist view does not offer an account of faultless disagreement; (iv) under a plausible notion of assertion, there seems to be no room for a realist but truth relativist view different from moderate truth relativism.

For the past three years Matías Gariazzo has been working on the debate between minimalism and contextualism. In his paper "Minimalism and speakers’ intuitions" (Ideas y valores, forthcoming) he defends a contextualist view. However, as a result of studying this debate, he became interested in truth relativism as an alternative way of conceiving the content of certain sentences. He is now also interested in the metaphysical significance of this last view.

Elmar GEIR UNNSTEINSSON: What is in a sentence?
In this paper I argue for the thesis that the linguistic meaning of an expression φ essentially underspecifies the proposition expressed by a speaker in uttering φ. The argument depends on a neo-Gricean distinction between (i) what is said, (ii) that with which what is said is said and (iii) what is meant. I propose four broad categories of underspecification: ostensive, elliptical, alethic and functional. The strategy of postulating unarticulated constituents is explored on account of its generality. Although this has not been noticed in the literature, the strategy implies the possibility of “overarticulating” one’s thoughts. Interestingly, even in such cases the linguistic meaning of φ will still underspecify what is said by uttering φ. Thus we have a distinction between essential and conventional underspecification. The former is a binary relation between things of different types, i.e. linguistic meaning and content, while the latter must be a binary relation between things of the same type, e.g. simple or compound expressions. This is taken to show that the type of underspecification we are interested in is in fact an essential feature of linguistic meaning.

Alison HALL: "Free" pragmatic processes, explicature, and systematicity
In this talk I address an objection to theories that posit "free" (non-linguistically mandated) pragmatic contributions to explicit utterance content. The concern is that such processes are insufficiently constrained, making impossible a systematic account of our grasp of explicit content. In response, I first show that the objection depends on working with a highly underspecified notion of what these pragmatic processes are, which fails to appreciate their context-sensitivity. Second, I discuss the alternative approach, which aims to accommodate the optionality of the effects in question by positing optional covert linguistic structure (e.g. Marti 2006, Merchant 2010). I argue that such structure has no role in utterance processing, therefore has no syntactic reality in the linguistic system, even as part of an account of competence.

My research interests are in theoretical pragmatics and semantics, particularly the explicit/implicit distinction. In Free enrichment or hidden indexicals? (Mind & Language, 2008) I defend the idea that there are elements of explicit utterance content that are not traceable to linguistic meaning. I am currently working on a project on lexical meaning modulation.

Daniel HARRIS: Meaning, Content, and Illocution
What is the nature of the constraint that a sentence’s meaning places on what speakers can say in uttering the sentence? I propose that we can shed some light on this question by asking an analogous question of how a sentence’s meaning constrains the illocutionary force of literal speech acts performed by uttering the sentence. I’ll argue that the explanatory role of linguistic meaning dictates that these two sorts of constraints work the same way. Next I’ll argue that, since the view that linguistic meaning partially determines what is said cannot be adapted to explain the way that meaning constrains force, we should reject this view. Finally, I’ll suggest an alternative picture, according to which the linguistic meaning of a sentence places a variety of constraints on the speech acts performed with the sentence, but does so indirectly, by limiting the effects speakers can intend to have on their addressees by uttering the sentence.

Sanna HIRVONEN: Perspective Dependence and Semantic Blindness
This talk argues that speakers are partly ignorant of the truth-conditions of certain expressions, i.e. they are semantically blind as the phenomenon is derogatorily called. For the purposes of the talk, let us take perspectives to be persons at a time. What I call perspective dependence is the thesis that there are (uses of) certain expressions which (i) contribute a reference to a perspective to the truth-conditions of sentences they figure in, and (ii) do not behave as indexicals or demonstratives. In this talk I assume that there are perspective-dependent expressions, for example predicates of taste (delicious, fun), and more controversially other gradable adjectives (tall, likely). I argue that the most plausible account of perspective dependence accepts that although (i) is true, speakers are typically unaware of the presence of a perspective in the truth-conditions; that is, they are semantically blind regarding perspectives. Hence, their truth-value intuitions depend on their own perspective, but they take themselves and others to be making perspective-independent claims. This explains the differences in behaviour between context-dependent and perspective-dependent expressions.

Thomas HODGSON: Underdeterminacy & Attitude-reports
A tradition in philosophy of language and linguistics sometimes called contextualism holds that linguistic meaning does not fully determine what is said. Following Robyn Carston I call this thesis underdeterminacy. It has rightly been thought to have extremely far-reaching consequences for theories of linguistic communication. I will spell out a consequence that underdeterminacy has for the treatment of propositional attitude reports. I will present a way of accommodating the consequences within a traditional approach to attitude reports. I contrast my proposal with one recently made by Ray Buchanan. I conclude that my account fits the facts as well as his, while relying on a more parsimonious metaphysics of content.

Julie HUNTER: Now: A Discourse-Based Theory
While "now" is usually interpreted relative to the utterance time and cannot be used anaphorically to refer to a past time, there are cases in which it can be so used: "I was alone in her bleak room.
Alone, because there was none of her in it, just a body that now held no essence of my mum". This paper offers a theory of anaphoric, past tense uses of "now". I argue that English "now" depends on a perspective point which need not be given by the time of utterance, but contrary to existing theories of "now," I claim that this perspective point is determined by the rhetorical structure of a discourse. The general picture is that "now" imposes structure on a temporal ordering; it divides a given period from that which comes before and from that which comes after.
"Now" also has a  spotlighting effect, so the discourse must call for special attention to the events/states described by the "now" clause; the clause must contribute to the main point of the story, rather than to background information.

Ivan KASA: Content and Logical Form in Neo-Fregeanism
I present an account of subject matter that supports the following abstractionist claim: The left-hand side of an abstraction principle is about everything mentioned in its right-hand side equivalent, including the abstracts individuated by the principle. This is achieved without giving up on the necessary equivalence expressed by the principle, and without conflating subject matters of necessary equivalents in general.

Dirk KINDERMANN: Assertion, Relativism, and the de se
Relativists argue that the content of assertions is more fine-grained than a set of possible worlds; what speakers are trying to get across is not just information about what the world is like. But relativists famously face Evans’ challenge: What is the aim of those assertions, if it is not stating a truth about the world? Most relativists favour a reply that is tied to an egocentric norm of assertion: Assert a sentence S (in a context of utterance c) only if S (in c) is true relative to your own perspective. In this talk, I defend a group-centric norm: Assert S (in a context of utterance c) only if S (in c) is true relative to the perspectives of all conversational participants. I develop an account of communication on which the point of communication is the coordination of our perspectives on the world. This account makes sense of the communication of taste beliefs as well as the communication of de se beliefs, illuminating their similarities and differences. It also accounts for the dynamics of disagreement.

Max KÖLBEL: Compositionality as a Methodological Principle?
Principles of compositionality usually involve the claim that the meaning (in some sense) of complex expressions of some language is determined by the meaning of their constituents and the way they are put together. Nevertheless there is much unclarity about the exact import of this principle and in particular about its empirical status. In this contribution, I shall examine some conceptions of compositionality that construe it as an empirical principle (in particular Szabó 2010). I shall argue that such a principle is easily seen to be false, and that this neither requires the typical ³contextualist² counterexamples, nor dos it constitute a fundamental problem for semantics. I shall then explore the view that compositionality is a methodological principle. I shall try to explain why, on this view, compositionality is still not an a priori truth.

Max Kölbel is ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona and member of the LOGOS Research Group. His main interests are in philosophy of language, philosophical logic, epistemology and metaethics. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from King’s College, University of London (UK) and has worked at the UNAM in Mexico City, at the University of Wales Swansea, at Cambridge University (UK) and at the University of Birmingham (UK).
His books include Truth without Objectivity, London: Routledge 2002 (International Library of Philosophy) and Arguing about Language (co-edited with Darragh Byrne). His journal articles include "Faultless Disagreement", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (October 2003), pp. 53-73 ; "‘True’ as Ambiguous", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (September 2008), pp.359-84 ; "Motivations for Relativism", in García-Carpintero and Kölbel (eds.), Relative Truth, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008, pp. 1-38 ; "Truth in Semantics", in Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (2008), pp. 242-57 ; "The Evidence for Relativism", Synthese 166 (January 2009), pp. 375-95 ; "Literal Force: a Defence of Conventional Assertion", in Sarah Sawyer (ed), New Waves in Philosophy of Language, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2010, pp. 108-37 ; "Vagueness as Semantic", forthcoming in R. Dietz & S. Moruzzi (eds), Cuts and Clouds: Issues in the Philosophy of Vagueness, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010, pp. 304-26.

Ben LENNERTZ: Epistemic Modals and Hedges
In this paper I offer a new account of disagreement involving epistemic modals. I consider the sort of data that has driven relativists and some contextualists, like von Fintel and Gillies. I reject that a sufficient account of disagreement in both embedded and unembedded cases can be given solely in terms of (nonrelativist) propositional disagreement. Instead, I suggest that we should use the notion of disagreement in attitude. I posit a type of attitude of uncertainty, which I call a 'hedge'. This is an attitude one has toward a proposition when one actively takes it as a possibility that that proposition is true. I give a contextualist semantics paired with a pragmatics that incorporates hedges to explain the problematic cases as cases of disagreement in attitude.

Dan LOPEZ DE SA: Expressing Disagreement: A Presuppositional Indexical Contextualist Relativist Account
With respect to predicates of personal taste, and evaluative predicates in general, there seem to be possible contrasting variations in judgments about an issue in the domain that do not seem to involve fault on the part of any of the participants (Wright 1992). According to relativism, these appearances of faultless disagreement are to be endorsed. According to contextualist relativism, this can be done within the general framework in which the basic semantic notion is that of a sentence s being true at a context c at the index i: it may in effect be the case that s is true at c (at its index) but false at c* (at its index) (Lewis 1980). According to indexical contextualist relativism, this is so in virtue of the content of sentence s at c being different from that of s at c* (MacFarlane 2009). Indexical contextualist relativism thus seems to straightforwardly account for the faultlessness of the judgments that could be expressed by using s at c but not at c*. What about the facts involving intuitions of disagreement, as revealed in ordinary disputes in the domain?  In recent debates on these issues, most presuppose that indexical contextualist relativism simply cannot account for these facts, and is thereby to be rejected (Wright 2001, Kölbel 2004). In my view, there is a version of indexical contextualist relativism that can be defended from this objection (Lewis 1989, López de Sa 2007, 2008). Such an account exploits presuppositions of commonality to the effect that the addressee is relevantly like the speaker (or the relevantly salient person of the context). In this paper I rehearse the main tenets of this view, discuss further different recent objections in the vicinity of the original one, and compare it with other recent proposals.

Ingrid LOSSIUS FALKUM: A pragmatic account of systematic polysemy
This paper investigates the type of systematic polysemy that rests on the distinction between count and mass uses of nouns (e.g. ‘Mary shot a ‘rabbit’/enjoyed the ‘rabbit’/wore ‘rabbit’’). Computational semantic approaches have influentially argued that such sense alternations should be treated as being generated by an inventory of specialised lexical inference rules. I argue against these rule-based accounts on the basis that (i) they don’t provide the interpretive flexibility required to account for the variety of senses involved in systematic polysemy; (ii) they lead to overgeneration, and (iii) they require the operation of different iinterpretive mechanisms in near-identical contexts. I propose instead an alternative, mainly pragmatic account of systematic polysemy, where the count-mass distinction is treated as a semantic-conceptual distinction reflected at the level of occurrences of entire NPs, rather than as a syntactic property of nouns. This allows for NPs to be encoded as having either a count or a mass denotation, providing an instruction to the pragmatic system about the format of the concept in question. On the basis of such underspecified inputs, highly activated encyclopaedic information associated with the concept and contextual assumptions derived from the utterance situation, the pragmatic system operates to yield the speaker-intended concept.

Marie-Christine MEYER: Or Else, A New Kind of Disjunction
In this talk, I will present and attempt to analyze a construction which poses a serious challenge for any theory of disjunction; it is illustrated in (1) and (2):
(1) Bernadette must be rich or else she wouldn’t own a Porsche
(2) Every pronoun must be generated with an index or else it will be uninterpretable.
I will show that what is pronounced like the standard disjunctive connective appears to be interpreted like conjunction. I will suggest an analysis which involves two independent ingredients: A modal anaphoric element and an underspecified meaning for or.

Robert MICHELS: Two Kinds of Actually-Operators
In modal logic, the adverb "actually" is treated as a modal operator which complements the two more customary modal operators "possibly" and "necessarily" and enhances the expressive strength of a modal language by providing a means to shift the world of evaluation from within this language. There are different ways to use "actually" in natural language discourse that, prima facie, pose challenges to the different semantics proposed by modal logicians. I will introduce some such semantics and discuss in how far they can meet these challenges.

Matt MOSS: Impossibility and Epistemic ‘Might’
Epistemic possibility is, characteristically, broader than metaphysical or logical possibility. What might be the case given a state of knowledge encompasses what cannot be the case given the facts of metaphysics or logic. Corresponding to this conceptual truth, there is its linguistic expression: statements involving an epistemic ‘might’ and an impossible prejacent. It’s intuitive that the independence of epistemic possibility from logical and metaphysical possibility would be reflected in the semantics of epistemic ‘might’; and so we would expect that such statements are sometimes true.
This intuition accords well with an old analysis of epistemic ‘might’, due to G.E. Moore, which makes epistemic modality the dual of knowledge: ‘might φ’ is true just in case φ’s negation is not known.
On the analysis that is now standard, due originally to Angelika Kratzer, ‘might φ’ is true just in case there exists some possible world, accessible from the worlds determined by the relevant knowledge, at which φ is true. Refinements of this analysis typically neglect the case where φ is a merely epistemic possibility. I will argue that this neglect is problematic for the standard analysis. I will further argue that, once the various desiderata for a theory of epistemic ‘might’ are disentangled, Moore’s old analysis gains in plausibility. I conclude by scrutinizing some proposed definitions of an ‘epistemically possible world’ in light of the foregoing considerations.

Stephen NEALE: Blueprints
It is an article of faith for many philosophers and linguists that the meaning of a sentence underdetermines what a speaker says, or the proposition a speaker expresses, by uttering that sentence on a given occasion. Without clear characterizations of the relata, there is little prospect of providing a characterization of the underdetermination relation that goes much beyond saying it involves nonidentity, i.e. beyond saying that “X underdetermines Y” entails “X≠Y”. On one side of the equation, we find three broad positions on the nature of propositions in the literature, positions characterized by their granularity: (1) Fregean, (2) Russellian, and (3) truth-conditional theories. On the other side of the equation, we find suggestive talk of sentence meanings as partial or incomplete propositions, as propositional radicals and schemata, as templates and blueprints for propositions. Here, we can distinguish three broad positions, which I shall call (1) plugging (sentence meanings are propositions with holes that need to be plugged), (2) functional (sentence meanings are propositional functions), and (3) instructional theories. In these two seminars, I shall argue against plugging and functional theories and in favour of a particular instructional theory I call blueprint theory, which is itself based on what I call an act-syntactic conception of language. Combining blueprint theory with a Russellian theory of propositions provides the means to characterize clearly two different (but intimately related) notions that have toiled under the “underdetermination” label (largely because of the widespread conflation of two importantly distinct concepts of determination). Both notions of “underdetermination” are central to an understanding language and its use, but one concerns the (metaphysical) constitution of what is said and the other the (epistemic-evidential) identification of what is said (however constituted). Once the conceptual architecture in place, it becomes clear why many debatèes about whether “semantics” or “pragmatics” “determine” “truth conditions” are incoherent or futile, symptoms of confused arguments about the extent to which context, discourse topic, conversational maxims, relevance, salience, background knowledge and other “pragmatic factors” bear on what a speaker says, and a failure to recognize two non-competing ways of drawing an explanatory, theoretically significant distinction between semantics and pragmatics, one central to talk of what a speaker means, the other to questions about how what a speaker means is identified.

Geoffrey NUNBERG: A Minimal Semantics for Derogatives, or Being Mean Without Meaning
Derogative terms raise two kinds of questions. The first is how they achieve their effect of conveying disdain for the members of a group and imputing to them a set of discreditable traits: how much of this follows from their lexical meanings, and how much is part of what one asserts when one uses them? My answer to these is, in brief, almost nothing. The linguistic meaning of a derogative word like redskin is pretty much exhausted by its typical dictionary definition; e.g., "redskin: (Offensive Slang) Used as a disparaging term for an American Indian." That account generalizes to other evaluative terms. But a second question involves a property that (some) derogatives share only with vulgar descriptions, which I call universal solvency: they can evoke strong feelings in virtue of the form alone, and that potential bleeds through the operators, like quotation, that normally absolve a speaker from responsibility for their content -- one can't ever mention them. That property involves a locutionary act, not an illocutionary one, and can't be explained by any accounts of how they come by their evaluative import (including mine).

Yuuki OHTA & Emanuel VIEBAHN: In Defence of Semantic Modesty
Semantic modesty is the combination of the following two theses: (i) ordinary speakers’ intuitions are not a reliable guide to the semantic content of an utterance; (ii) the role semantic content plays in the interpretation of an utterance is minimal. In this talk, we defend semantic modesty, put forward by Bach and Cappelen & Lepore, against objections from King & Stanley. King & Stanley argue that a semantically modest theory cannot be compositional, and that it is less systematic than their own theory, which is semantically immodest. We show that these objections do not pertain to (i), and then argue that they are also ineffective against (ii). A theory that is modest about the role of semantic content can be compositional and need not be less systematic than a semantically immodest theory.

Peter PAGIN: Shifting parameters and propositions
For serving its role in (embedded) belief-desire explanations of action, beliefs need contents whose truth values stay fixed across time. So propositions must be eternal. But in Kaplanian semantics, if propositions are eternal, time parameters belong to the context of utterance and contribute to all propositions where time matters. Then, temporal operators shift the context of utterance. The sentence (1) 'It always rains where I am now' is then true in a context c with respect to the world w of c iff the sentence (2) 'It rains where I am now' is true at all times for the speaker of c with respect to w. But change of time is then change of context, and that shifts the reference of 'now' as well ('always' is then a monster). This distorts the meaning of (1). So propositions must be temporal. So we have a contradiction. I will suggest a solution.

Peter Pagin is professor of theoretical philosophy at Stockholm University. He got his PhD at Stockholm University 1987 on a dissertation about the concept of a rule and its application to semantics. He has published a couple of dozens of articles on the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and philosophy of logic. Among his publications are "Informativeness and Moore's Paradox", Analysis 68, 46-57, 2008 ; "Vagueness and central gaps", in R Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and Clouds, 254-72, Oxford University Press, 2010 ; "Compositionality, understanding, and proofs", Mind 118, 713-37.

Hazel PEARSON: A judge-free semantics for predicates of personal taste
We offer a new account of the semantics of predicates of personal taste (PPTs) like tasty and fun which, unlike recent proposals (Lasersohn 2005, Stephenson 2007), makes no appeal to a judge parameter as a component of the evaluation index. We identify some empirical shortcomings of previous proposals, arguing that the PPT has a first person oriented meaning component even in cases that seem to involve an exocentric interpretation. We propose that the interpretation of PPTs involve first person oriented genericity of the kind identified by Moltmann (2006, 2010) in her analysis of generic one. The idea is roughly that when I say The cake is tasty, I say that the cake is tasty to all individuals who who are like me in relevant respects and who have tried the cake. We explain the shifting of the first person orientation from the speaker to the attitude holder in attitude reports by taking both matrix and embedded sentences to express properties rather than propositions (Stojanovic 2008).

Stefano PREDELLI: Non Truth-conditional Semantics
This course will study certain phenomena having to do with non truth-conditional meaning. It’s larger aim is that of gesturing towards a framework at the interface between genuinely semantic issues on the one hand, and questions typically classified as pragmatic, sociolinguistic, or lexical on the other. I begin by taking as paradigmatic simple cases of expressives, register, honorifics, and slurs. I conclude the first part of my presentation with an application of my semantic framework to a ‘logic’ for ‘alas’. In the second part, I move to phenomena that motivate the distinction between the truth-conditions for a sentence on the one hand, and the ‘truth conditions’ for its uses on the other. Of particular relevance in this respect is the phenomenon of what I call obstinate occurrences of indexical expressions, a phenomenon relevant for the study of vocatives, quotation, and logophoric pronouns.

Stefano Predelli has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom), and is the author of Contexts: Meaning, Truth, and the Use of Language (OUP, 2005), in addition to articles on philosophical semantics, philosophy of language, and aesthetics.

Jeffery B. PRETTI: Substitution, Simple Sentences, and Designating Disguises
Over the past decade, the substitution of co-referential names has been shown to be a problem even for those sentences which appear to be devoid of any opacity-producing content—i.e. even for “simple” sentences.  For example, whereas (1) “Superman leaps more tall buildings than Clark Kent” may seem true, (2) “Superman leaps more tall buildings than Superman” is clearly false. While various semantic and pragmatic solutions have been offered in the debate, Jennifer Saul rejects any such solution. She argues that the problem of substitutivity cannot be solved through an appeal to linguistic mechanisms.  However, in this paper I introduce a causal account into the debate. I argue that the distinct ways in which we can think about one-and-the-same referent can be preserved through a causal account of proper names. After analyzing the semantic content of a proper name in terms of its unique causal history, I defend this account against Saul’s primary objections. Finally, I demonstrate how we can successfully preserve our truth-conditional intuitions, even for such problematic simple sentences.

François RECANATI: Co-Reference De Jure in the Mental-File Framework
There is de jure coreference between two singular terms (tokens) in a discourse just in case whoever understands the discourse knows that the two terms corefer if they refer at all. In the mental file framework, this is cashed out by saying that the two terms are associated with the same mental file.
The talk will be devoted to discussing an objection which Angel Pinillos raised to the mental file account of de jure coreference. According to the objection, it is possible for A and B, and for B and C, to be coreferential de jure, even though A and C are not. But if the relation of de jure coreference rested on the identity of the mental files respectively associated with each of the terms, it should be transitive, since identity is a transitive relation.

Indrek REILAND: Linguistic Meanings and Semantic Rules
Plausibly, for a sentence to have a linguistic meaning is for it to have the relational property of standing in some relation R to something else, call it X. There are three interesting questions to be asked: first, what is the nature of R, second what is the nature of X, third, how can we describe the linguistic meanings of expressions? My aims in this presentation are twofold. First, I want to outline the view that R is the x (‘_’ is permissibly usable by x iff _) relation, that X is a mental state and that we can describe the linguistic meanings of expressions by taking them to be semantic rules like, roughly, the following: x (‘Ouch!’ is permissibly usable by x iff x is in pain). Second, I want to argue that this view is preferable to its competitors because while it can account equally as well for the truth-conditional aspects of meaning, it does a much better job with accounting for the non-truth-conditional aspects, for example, the linguistic meanings of imperative sentences (e. g ‘Shut the door!’), expressive sentences (e. g ‘Ouch!’), declarative sentences containing descriptive-expressives (e. g ‘Gottlob is a boche’), and emoticons (e. g ‘:-D’) and hand-gestures.

David REY: Is Compositionality a Substantial Constraint for Formal Semantics?
In this talk I will discuss a certain circularity that arises when we assess the compositionality of natural languages from the point of view of formal semantics. Formal semantics is grounded on the methodological assumption that our grip on the semantic structures of natural language expressions is not independent of the development of the discipline. The semantic structures that are relevant to assess the compositionality principle are the structures posited by our best semantic theories. But, arguably, conformity to this principle is the main criterion that formal semanticists use in order to devise and select semantic theories. Compositional prediction of truth-conditions is the goal of formal semantics. Thus, for a formal semanticist, it is not possible to address the question of whether a natural language is compositional without predetermining an answer to this question.

David Rey is student member of the LOGOS Research Group and member of the project "Semantic Content and Context Dependence Project". He is enrolled in the Aphil Master-PhD program, run by the University of Barcelona and other Catalan universities. He obtained his BA and MA from the National University of Colombia. His primary research area is philosophy of language.

Vincent RICHARD: Weather predicates and context dependency
The paper gives a new argument for the articulation of a location in It is raining. I first examine the main arguments that have been put forth in the debate on weather predicates: the argument from  binding (Stanley) and the optionality criterion (Recanati). I show that both of those arguments overgenerate. I then draw the conclusion that those arguments are too coarse grained to fit the weather predicates' semantics. I put forth the following methodological principle: a suitable argument for or against the articulation of a place in It is raining must be based on a phenomenon specific to weather predicates. Following this principle, I give a new argument for the articulation in the second part of the paper. I note that a sentence like It rained before snowing implies a colocation of the two events. I then propose that this phenomenon is based on a process of syntactic control. According to Chomsky (1981), weather predicates are the only predicates whose subjects can control without being referential. I conclude that this is because weather predicates' subjects are related to a place, which makes them quasi-referential and accounts for the colocation effect I noted.

Barry C. SMITH: Understanding Taste and Assessing Contexts of Assessment
Despite much recent writing on the topic of semantic relativism, little progress has been made either in understanding or evaluating genuinely relativist positions. The problems stem first from confusions surrounding the parade-ground case involving predicates of personal taste, and second, from a failure to appreciate the proper role for contexts of assessment in the relativist's view. In this paper, I shall bring out some of the overlooked complexity of the taste case, distinguishing taste predicates from predicates of personal taste, in an attempt to determine what scope there is for genuine disagreements in this area. In addition, I shall explore the thinking behind the appeal to contexts of assessment in order to distinguish relativist views involving assessment-sensitivity from non-relativist views that treat these context as just another parameter. Finally, I will consider the most promising way to locate genuine disagreement of the kind that motivates relativism about taste.

Benjamin SPECTOR: Interrogatives and the semantics/pragmatics divide
Unlike declarative sentences which express propositions, interrogatives do not have truth-conditions. Their meaning can however be characterized in terms of their 'answerhood conditions'. We will present two influential views about the semantics and pragmatics of questions and answers (partition semantics vs. a semantics in terms of 'elementary answers'), and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. We will also discuss the interpretation of interrogatives when they are embedded in declarative sentences, as in "John knows whether it's raining".. We will specifically focus on the analysis of alternative questions.

Tamina STEPHENSON: The Pragmatics of Relative Truth
This talk will explore ways in which our choices about formal models of pragmatics can be informed by (relatively) recent developments in the semantics of taste predicates, vague scalar predicates, epistemic modals, and propositional attitudes, with special attention to views that include some form of truth relativism. Elements of the pragmatics to be considered include common ground, participant commitments, types of speech acts, and the norms for making those speech acts. I argue that the particular choices we make in constructing a pragmatic model are crucial for understanding and evaluating apparently truth-relative semantic theories.

Tim SUNDELL: Understanding Normative Disagreement
It is widely assumed in contemporary philosophy that in order for speakers to genuinely disagree, they must mean the same things by the words they use. We call this principle DRSM, or “Disagreement Requires Shared Meaning”. DRSM has come to serve as an important constraint on theories of the semantics of normative terms and concepts. Nevertheless, we argue that the principle is false. On the basis of recent work in both philosophy of language and linguistics, we argue that there are many different ways in which two speakers can disagree. Crucially, such alternative disagreements are in many cases extremely difficult to distinguish from ordinary disagreements over the truth (or correctness) of literally expressed content. The upshot is that theories positing a large degree of semantic variation in our normative terms and concepts gain plausibility. We argue further that the failure of DRSM suggests a more general rethinking of the methodology of metanormative theory.

Vassilis TSOMPANIDIS: Tensed Belief as De Re Belief
The main motivation of this paper is to sketch an account of tensed belief as an externalist De Re belief that could come close to explain why and how it normally leads to timely action. I argue that tensed beliefs are perspectival, relational, and not completely conceptualized. Such an account avoids a specific problem for "hyper-intellectualized" accounts of tensed belief; predicting that a subject would have tensed beliefs in cases where tensed belief does not necessarily occur. I further defend the position that human beings are able to perceive temporal properties such as duration and order, and that human psychology includes a non-conceptual temporal framework mechanism akin to a spatial egocentric index. This can be straightforwardly combined with my externalist account to explain why timely action follows from a tensed belief without resorting to brute biological facts or ignoring quick timely reactions to immediate perceptions.

Lavi WOLF: An interpersonal approach to predicates of personal taste
This paper argues that predicates of personal taste (e.g. tasty, fun) actually do not express a personal taste but rather an interpersonal one. Previous approaches, notably Lasersohn (2005) who offers an essentially subjective account, suffer from several problems semantically pragmatically and logically. Recanati (2007) offers an essentially objective account which avoids the problems of Lasersohn but has different problems. The solution is to combine subjectivity with objectivity, and this is done through the use of a probabilistic mixture model which takes into consideration judgments of various individuals (the objective aspect) which the speaker considers to be good evaluators of taste (the subjective aspect). This theory accounts for predicates of personal taste, explains faultless disagreement and avoids the problems of the other theories.


H. Cappelen et E. Lepore, Insensitive Semantics. Blackwell.
R. Carston, Thoughts and Utterances. Blackwell.
S. Predelli, Contexts, Oxford University Press.
F. Recanati, Literal Meaning. Cambridge University Press.
D. Sperber et D. Wilson, Relevance. Blackwell.
J. Stanley, Language in Context. Oxford University Press.

With the support of CNRS,
the Marie Curie PETAF network,
Institut Jean Nicod,
the "Semantic Content and Context-Dependence" project (M. Kölbel)
and the ERC "Context, Content and Compositionality" project (F. Récanati)

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