Our topic for Spring 2018 will be Formal Frameworks for Semantics and Pragmatics. We’ll be investigating a range of questions in semantics and/or pragmatics which involve or are relevant to the choice between different kinds of overall structure for theories in these areas.
In most sessions, the members of the seminar will receive a week in advance, copies of recent work, or work in progress from a thinker at another university. After reading this work, students discuss it with one of the instructors on the day before the colloquium. Then at the Tuesday colloquium, the instructors give a summary review and raise criticisms or questions about the work. The author responds to these, and also to questions from the audience.
The main seminar meetings are on Tuesday from 4-7, in the second floor seminar room of the Philosophy Department. Additionally, there will be a supplementary meeting open to all students participating in the seminar (whether enrolled or not) on Mondays from 4-5,
in the same location in the fifth-floor seminar room.
This seminar is open to all interested parties.
There is a googlegroups mailing list for the class. If you want to receive announcements, please add yourself to that list. (To be able to access the mailing list’s web interface, you’ll need to log into Google’s systems using an identity Google recognizes, like a Gmail address, or a NYU email address because of how NYU’s authentication systems are connected to Google. But there’s no real need to see the mailing list’s web interface. You just need some email address to be added to list, then any messages we send to the list will get forwarded to all the email addresses then registered on the list. If you want us to add an address to the list that you can’t log into Google’s systems with, just send us a message with the address you want registered.)
Schedule and Papers
Papers will be posted here as they become available. Some may be password-protected; the password will be distributed in class.
- 23 Jan
- Introductory session (no meeting on Monday 22 Jan), Jim’s handoutSome people asked for more background reading. Here are two useful textbooks: Heim & Kratzer, then von Fintel & Heim. Here is a survey article about different treatments of pronoun anaphora. Here is a course page with links to more reading.
- 30 Jan
- Jim Pryor (NYU, web, mail), “De Jure Codesignation“
- 6 Feb
- Mandy Simons (CMU, web, mail), “Convention, Intention, and the Conversational Record” and (with Kevin Zollman) “Natural Conventions and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide“(Mandy is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 5 Feb at 6:30.)
- 13 Feb
- Paul Pietroski (Rutgers, mail), “Semantic Typology and Composition” (minor updates posted on Friday 9 Feb at 1:06 AM).
- 20 Feb
- Karen Lewis (Columbia/Barnard, web, mail), “Anaphora and Negation” and “Discourse dynamics, pragmatics, and indefinites“
- 27 Feb
- Daniel Rothschild (UCL, web, mail), “A Trivalent Approach to Anaphora and Presupposition” and (with Matt Mandelkern) “Projection from Situations“(Daniel is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 26 Feb at 6:30.)
- 6 Mar
- John Hawthorne (USC, mail), (with Cian Dorr) Selections from If… : A Theory of Conditionals
- 13 Mar
- Spring Break
- 20 Mar
- Lucas Champollion (NYU, web, mail), (with Dylan Bumford and Robert Henderson) “Donkeys under discussion”
Lucas suggests that readers who are short on time might skip or skim section 6, which is exclusively devoted to discussion of previous work.
- 27 Mar
- Matthew Mandelkern (Oxford, web, mail), “Bounded Modality“
- 3 Apr
- Paolo Santorio (UC-San Diego, web, mail), “Conditional Excluded Middle in Expressivist Semantics” (primary) and “Nonclassical counterfactuals” (secondary)
- 10 Apr
- Una Stojnić (Columbia, web, mail), “Discourse and Argument“
- 17 Apr
- Seth Yalcin (UC-Berkeley, web, mail), “Conditional Belief and Conditional Assertion” and “Notes on iffy knowledge“
- 24 Apr
- Stephen Schiffer (NYU, web, mail), “When Meaning Meets Vagueness (Accommodating Vagueness in Semantics and Metasemantics)” (revised 20 April)
- 1 May
- Maria Aloni (ILLC and Philosophy/Amsterdam, web, mail), “FC disjunction in state-based semantics“(Maria is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 30 Apr at 6:30.)
Each colloquium is held on Wednesday at 4:15 P.M. All colloquia will take place at the Graduate Center in rooms 9204/9205 except as otherwise noted. Please call (212) 817-8615 for further information.
Download an interactive PDF version of the schedule here.
February 6 • Jerrold Katz Memorial Lecture
Ned Block (New York University)
“Perception is Non-Propositional, Non-Conceptual and Iconic”
Francesco Pupa (Nassau Community College)
“Determiners are Phrases”
Robert Rupert (University of Colorado, Boulder)
“There Is No Personal Level: On the Virtues of a Psychology Flattened from Above”
Reed Winegar (Fordham University)
“Kant on Infinity”
March 6 • Marx Wartofsky Memorial Lecture
David Schweickart (Loyola University Chicago)
Manolo Martinez (University of Barcelona)
“A Rate-Distortion Theory of Concepts”
Vanessa DeHarven (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
“The Distinctness of the Three Distinct Goods in Republic II”
Eli Friedlander (University of Tel Aviv)
“The Intuitive Intellect from Kant to Goethe”
April 3 • Prospectives’ Day
CUNY GC Faculty Panel
Daniel Harris (CUNY Hunter College)
April 17 • Logic Panel
- Romina Padro (CUNY Graduate Center)
“The Adoption Problem in Logic”
- Saul Kripke (CUNY Graduate Center)
“The Adoption Problem and the Quinean Conception of Logic”
- Michael Devitt (CUNY Graduate Center)
“The Adoption Problem: A Quinean Picture”
April 24 — No Colloquium (Spring Recess)
Arindam Chakrabarti (SUNY Stony Brook)
“Some Problems Concerning Touch, Touching and the Self-Aware Body”
Briana Toole (CUNY Baruch College)
“The Not-So-Rational Racist: Articulating a New Epistemic Duty”
I shall discuss some of the issues concerning a notorious doctrine of Frege that sentences are names of truth-values. I am interested in a problem raised by Kripke that the doctrine obscures the distinction between judgeable and unjudgeable contents. I shall present what I take to be Frege’s account of judgeable content. A proper expression of a judgeable content, for Frege, is susceptible to an analysis into a predicate and an argument-word, where a predicate is understood as a concept-word used to attribute a certain property to the referent of the argument-word. In the light of this analysis, I shall argue that the doctrine does not obscure the distinction. The problem will also be discussed within the formal context of Grundgesetze. A new light will be shed on his rather peculiar conception of the symbol ‘|-’.
The Saul Kripke Center is pleased to announce that Dongwoo Kim (PhD student, Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center) will deliver the third Saul Kripke Center Young Scholars Series talk on Thursday, March 7, 2019, from 4:30 to 6:30 in room 6495 of the CUNY Graduate Center.
When we’re asked to give examples of philosophical questions, we’re likely to think of questions that are very, very old. Is the physical world all there is? How should I live? How do we know what we know? But some philosophical problems are quite new, made possible or urgent by new developments in science and culture. These are often the most exciting problems to think through.
On March 7th at 7:30 PM, Derek Skillings joins Brooklyn Public Philosophers to share his work on the philosophical consequences of the fact that we are holobionts – biological units composed of hosts and their associated swarms of microorganisms. If you’re interested in health, the problem of personal identity, the philosophy of biology in general, or the philosophical consequences of the fact that we’re made up of a bunch of little things which are themselves alive in particular, you’ll want to check this one out. Here’s the abstract:
“I, holobiont. Are you and your microbes a community or a single entity?”
You are a holobiont – a biological unit made up of a host and its associated microbiome (bacteria, protists, viruses and other microscopic entities). What consequences does this have for how we understand ourselves and other similar organisms? What are our spatial and temporal boundaries, and what does it mean to be a healthy holobiont? In this talk I will look at some alternatives for making sense of both holobiont individuality and “healthy holobiont/microbiome” talk. I will argue that existing accounts of human health are not appropriate for microbiomes, and that notions of ecosystem health face similar shortcomings. I will end by looking at some possibilities for understanding overall host health given the importance and ubiquity of microbiomes.
As usual, we meet at the Dweck Center at the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Here’s the Facebook event! Tell everyone, please!
Two proof-systems P and P* are said to be complementary when one proves exactly the non-theorems of the other. Complementary systems come as a particular kind of refutation calculi whose patterns of inference always work by inferring unprovable conclusions form unprovable premises. In the first part of my talk, I will focus on LK*, the sequent system complementing Gentzen’s system LK for classical logic. I will show, then, how to enrich LK* with two admissible (unary) cut rules, which allow for a simple and efficient cut-elimination algorithm. In particular, two facts will be highlighted: 1) for any given provable sequent, complementary cut-elimination always returns one of its simplest proofs, and 2) provable LK* sequents turn out to be “deductively polarized” by the empty sequent. In the second part, I will observe how an alternative complementary sequent system can be obtained by slightly modifying the Gentzen-Schütte system G3. I will finally show how this move could pave the way for a novel approach to multi-valuedness and proof-theoretic semantics for classical logic.
2/15: Andrew Lee, Philosophy, New York University
2/22: William Robinson, Philosophy, Iowa State University
3/1: Wesley Sauret, Philosophy, University of Bayreuth
3/8: Jean-Paul Noel, Center for Neural Science, New York University
3/15: Santiago Echeverri, Philosophy, New York University
4/5: No Cognitive Science talk: CUNY Graduate-Student Conference https://2019cunyphilosophyconference.weebly.com/
4/19, 4/26: No talks; Spring Break
Additional information at:
http://bit.ly/cscitalks or e-mail David Rosenthal <email@example.com>
It is commonly claimed that mind-body dualism is entirely foreign to China—or “the East” more generally. This talk will explore how engaging with the cognitive sciences and digital humanities undermines claims such as this, and more broadly can help us to do our work as scholars of comparative philosophy. Embracing an embodied view of human cognition gets us beyond strong social constructivism and its accompanying cultural essentialism. In addition, new tools from the science and digital humanities can, in combination with traditional archaeological and textual evidence, allow us to more accurately and rigorously assess claims about the philosophical and religious historical record. Specifically, I will focus on novel large-scale textual analysis techniques, online databases for sharing scholarly knowledge, and work in contemporary evolutionary anthropology and cognitive science relevant to the mind-body issue. I will conclude by considering how early Chinese views of mind-body relations do, in fact, differ from some modern Western conceptions, and how taking a more reasonable view of cultural differences can allow us to genuinely learn from other cultures.
With a response from:
Paul Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)
Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 PM
CUNY philosophy PhD candidate Liam Ryan will lead. Bishop George Berkeley is one the most original thinkers to grace philosophy. Considered one of the…
Price: 14.00 USD
Russell proved over a century ago that a naive conception of structured propositions is inconsistent. Hodes (2015), Dorr (2016), and Goodman (2017) have recently reformulated Russell’s argument in the language of higher-order logic, and concluded from it that distinctions in reality cannot always reflect all the syntactic structure of the language in which we draw those distinctions. But they also float the idea that such distinctions might nevertheless have sentence-like structure, so long as this structure fails to neatly correspond to the syntactic structure of the sentences we use to draw those distinction. Perhaps, that is, the popular metaphor of facts being like sentences written in God’s “book of the world” is tenable after all. In this talk I’ll give a way of making this metaphor precise, and prove a new limitative result showing that, given natural assumptions, it too is inconsistent.
The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will be meeting on Mondays from 4:15 to 6:15 in room 7314 of the Graduate Center, CUNY (365 5th Avenue). The (provisional) schedule is as follows:
Feb 4. Melvin Fitting, CUNY
Feb 11. Benjamin Neeser, Geneva
Feb 18. GC CLOSED. NO MEETING
Feb 25. Achille Varzi, Columbia
Mar 4. Eric Bayruns Garcia, CUNY
Mar 11. Jeremy Goodman, USC
Mar 18. Romina Padro, CUNY
Mar 25. Kit Fine, NYU
Apr 1. Elena Ficara, Paderborn
Apr 8. Chris Scambler, NYU
Apr 15. Jenn McDonald, CUNY
Apr 22. GC CLOSED. NO MEETING
Apr 29. Tommy Kivatinos, CUNY
May 6. Daniel Durante, Natal
May 13. Martina Botti, Columbia
May 20. Vincent Peluce, CUNY
We’re a community of philosophers of language centered in New York City. We have a meeting each week at which a speaker presents a piece of their own work relating to the philosophy of language.
Luca Incurvati (ILLC/Amsterdam)
Dan Hoek (NYU)
Peter Klecha (Swarthmore)
Chris Tancredi (Keio University, Tokyo)
Yael Sharvit (UCLA)
Thony Gillies (Rutgers)
Yale Weiss (CUNY)
Friederike Moltmann (CNRS)
Amir Anvari (Institut Jean Nicod, ENS)
David Balcarras (MIT)
Nadine Theiler (ILLC, Amsterdam)
Valentine Hacquard (Maryland)