Mind and Language Seminar @ NYU Philosophy Dept. rm 202
Mar 27 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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.)
CUNY Colloquium @ CUNY Grad Center, rm 9204/5
Mar 27 @ 4:15 pm

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”

February 13
Francesco Pupa (Nassau Community College)
“Determiners are Phrases”

February 20
Robert Rupert (University of Colorado, Boulder)
“There Is No Personal Level: On the Virtues of a Psychology Flattened from Above”

February 27
Reed Winegar (Fordham University)
“Kant on Infinity”

March 6 • Marx Wartofsky Memorial Lecture
David Schweickart (Loyola University Chicago)

March 13
Manolo Martinez (University of Barcelona)
“A Rate-Distortion Theory of Concepts”

March 20
Vanessa DeHarven (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
“The Distinctness of the Three Distinct Goods in Republic II”

March 27
Eli Friedlander (University of Tel Aviv)
“The Intuitive Intellect from Kant to Goethe”

April 3 • Prospectives’ Day
CUNY GC Faculty Panel

April 10
Daniel Harris (CUNY Hunter College)
“Indirect Communication”

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)

May 1
Arindam Chakrabarti (SUNY Stony Brook)
“Some Problems Concerning Touch, Touching and the Self-Aware Body”

May 8
Briana Toole (CUNY Baruch College)
“The Not-So-Rational Racist: Articulating a New Epistemic Duty”

Rutgers Philosophy Dept. Colloquia @ Seminar Room, Gateway Transit Building, 5th flr
Mar 28 @ 3:00 pm

The Department’s colloquium series typically meets on Thursdays in the Seminar Room at Gateway Transit Building, 106 Somerset Street, 5th Floor at 3:00 p.m. Please see the Department Calendar for scheduled speakers and more details.

  • 01/31  Department Colloquium-Prof. Brian Epstein (Tufts)
  • 02/07  Inclusive Pedagogy by Prof. Zoë Johnson-King (NYU)
  • 02/28  Climate Lecture-Prof. Teresa Blankmeyer Burke (Gallaudet University)
  • 03/14  Mesthene Lecture-Prof. Lara Buchak (UC Berkeley)
  • 03/28  Break It Down Lecture-Prof. Paul Pietroski, “Human Languages: What are They?”
  • 04/11  Class of 1970s Lecture: Prof. Gideon Rosen (Princeton) Alexander Teleconf. Lecture Hall, 4:30-7:30 pm
  • 04/18  Break It Down Lecture-Prof. Larry Temkin, “Population Ethics: Forty Years On”
  • 04/25 – 04/27 Semantics Workshop (Lepore)
  • 04/27  Rutgers Day 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • 05/03  Epistemology Conference
  • 05/04  Epistemology Conference
  • 07/21 – 07/26 Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy
Is it wrong for feminists to pay other women for housework? Johanna Oksala, Pratt @ Wolff Conference Room, NSSR, D1103
Mar 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Many philosophers have suggested that the aim of imaginative philosophical inquiry is not to provide right answers, but right questions. This means demonstrating why certain questions are meaningless, based on false assumptions, or become senseless when posed in a wrong context. The question in my title appears to be a good candidate for this type of philosophical inquiry and I will try to show why. However, I will also argue that posing the question is nevertheless important, perhaps not for moral philosophy, but for feminist politics.

The argument proceeds in three stages. In the first section, I will discuss Gabrielle Meagher’s article, Jstor, Spring 2002, ‘Is it Wrong to Pay for Housework?’. I will contend that rather than posing this question as an abstract philosophical question, it is crucial to place it in the specific historical and socio-economic context in which we encounter it today. A thorough politico-economic analysis of paid housework should then open our eyes to the fact that feminists need to make demands that are not merely ameliorative but embody a radically emancipatory future for all women. In the second section, I will critically assess one such demand, the idea of universal basic income (UBI) – a monthly income paid by the government to each member of society regardless of income from other sources and with no conditions attached. My contention is that a feminist demand for UBI could contribute to the attempts to tackle the deep causes behind the growing socio-economic disparities between women, as well as improving the status of unpaid care work, but only in the context of a feminist revolution of everyday life. In the third section, I will ask what such a revolution might entail and return to the question of individual choice. While I insist that scapegoating women who pay other women for housework misses the real political problem, I will nevertheless conclude by suggesting that there are compelling political reasons for feminists to answer the question in my title with a resolute yes.

Nietzsche and the Disadvantage of History: the Rise of Western Oikophobia. Benedict Beckeld @ Meyer Hall, Room 102, NYU
Mar 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

New York University’s Liberal Studies, in Collaboration with Nietzsche Circle, Presents:

Nietzsche and the Disadvantage of History: The rise of Western Oikophobia

More Info & RSVP:
If you like to attend, Please RSVP by sending email to Luke Trusso at

Celebrating Yirmiyahu Yovel @ Wolff Conference Room, D1103
Mar 29 – Mar 30 all-day

The Philosophy Department of The New School for Social Research invites you to a conference in honor of the life and work of Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy Yirmiyahu Yovel.

The conference will be on March 29th and 30th in the Wolff Conference Room, D1103, 6 E 16th Street.

Celebrating Yirmiyahu Yovel

Friday, March 29th

Chair: Richard J. Bernstein

9 AM – 11 AM: Agnes Heller “The Other Within”

11 AM – 1 PM: Jay Bernstein “Yovel and Hegel’s Phenomenology


2 PM – 4 PM: James Dodd “The Historical Antinomy”

4PM – 6PM: Jonathan Yovel “Normativity as a Poetic Quality”


Saturday, March 30th

Chari: Dmitri Nikulin

9 AM – 11 AM: Joel Whitebook “Immanence, Finitude, and Emancipation: A Psychoanalytic Perspective”

11 AM – 1 PM: Omri Boehm “Immanence, Knowledge, and Immortality: Spinoza’s Ethics as an Inversion of the Biblical Fall”


2 PM – 4 PM: Chiara Bottici “Marrano of Reason”

4 PM – 6 PM: Eli Friedlander “On the Different Ways to the Highest Good”

Thinking and Living the Good Life @ Philosophy Department, Fordham U
Mar 29 – Mar 31 all-day

The theme of our conference, “Thinking and Living the Good Life,” asks participants to think upon what it means to live well in contemporary society, how we can know the right or best way to live, and the role of thought in the enterprise of human life. Evocative of ancient theories of virtue, the theme of the good life also bears on prominent areas of discussion in contemporary political philosophy, epistemology, and metaphysics. Papers topics may include, but are not limited to: the relationship between political structures and the shared goal of realizing a common good; the complexities that arise in trying to achieve knowledge of the good; and the nature of the good in and of itself. Our conference aims to bring together graduate students that work in different areas in order to think through this singular theme of the good life and to search for commonalities and intersections amongst a broad array of approaches.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to by December 20, 2018. Authors of selected papers will be notified by January 10, 2019.

Keynote speakers:

Fordham University


Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University
Cognitive Science Speaker Series @ CUNY Grad Center, rm 7102
Mar 29 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Spring 2019
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
3/22: TBA
3/29: TBA
4/5: No Cognitive Science talk: CUNY Graduate-Student Conference
4/12: TBA
4/19, 4/26: No talks; Spring Break
5/3: TBA

Additional information at: or e-mail David Rosenthal <>

Bjorndahl: The Epistemology of Nondeterminism. Logic, Probability, and Games Seminar @ Faculty House, Columbia U
Mar 29 @ 4:00 pm

Propositional dynamic logic (PDL) is a framework for reasoning about nondeterministic program executions (or, more generally, nondeterministic actions). In this setting, nondeterminism is taken as a primitive: a program is nondeterministic iff it has multiple possible outcomes. But what is the sense of “possibility” at play here? This talk explores an epistemic interpretation: working in an enriched logical setting, we represent nondeterminism as a relationship between a program and an agent deriving from the agent’s (in)ability to adequately measure the dynamics of the program execution. More precisely, using topology to capture the observational powers of an agent, we define the nondeterministic outcomes of a given program execution to be those outcomes that the agent is unable to rule out in advance. In this framework, determinism coincides exactly with continuity: that is, determinism is continuity in the observation topology. This allows us to embed PDL into (dynamic) topological (subset space) logic, laying the groundwork for a deeper investigation into the epistemology (and topology) of nondeterminism.

The seminar is concerned with applying formal methods to fundamental issues, with an emphasis on probabilistic reasoning, decision theory and games. In this context “logic” is broadly interpreted as covering applications that involve formal representations. The topics of interest have been researched within a very broad spectrum of different disciplines, including philosophy (logic and epistemology), statistics, economics, and computer science. The seminar is intended to bring together scholars from different fields of research so as to illuminate problems of common interest from different perspectives. Throughout each academic year, meetings are regularly presented by the members of the seminar and distinguished guest speakers.

details tba

02/08/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

03/29/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

04/19/2018 Faculty House, Columbia University
4:00 PM

Confucian Approaches to Intergenerational Ethics. Timothy Connolly (East Stroudsburg) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Mar 29 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Since Confucianism is an intergenerational phenomenon, it should have unique insights into ethical issues surrounding our obligations to future generations. In the first part of this discussion, I examine two contemporary Confucian perspectives on intergenerational ethics. Proponents of Confucian Role Ethics have developed an interpretation of xiao as “intergenerational reverence” that binds the community together over time by reference to shared cultural models and evolving ethical values. The Chinese thinker Jiang Qing in turn argues for a political constitution in which the state depends not just on the will of presently existing citizens, but also serves to preserve and transmit the values of the past for the sake of future generations. While both interpretations share in common a critique of Western individualism and rights-based ethical framework, Jiang’s account of Confucian intergenerationality rests on the authority of tradition, whereas Confucian Role Ethics prioritizes the uniqueness of the situation at hand. In the second half of the discussion, I develop an alternative Confucian approach that is aligned with virtue ethics. On this view, our present virtue is the point of departure for understanding our relations with the past and future. I examine passages in early Confucian texts that suggest a notion of intergenerational virtue, which brings together various dispositions to see our own flourishing as linked with both past and future generations.

With a response from:

Susan Blake (Bard College)