SLOVAK-AUSTRIAN PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE NETWORK
(S.A.I.A. Initiative project no. 2019-10-15-007)
This is a collaborative project between the Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Department of Philosophy of the University of Vienna whose main aim is to establish a network that allows researchers from Slovakia and Austria working in the philosophy of language (within the analytic tradition) to interact. While contacts between researchers from the two countries have been previously established, no such networks specifically involving philosophers of language have been set up so far. The purpose of this project is to fill this lacuna.
The project was awarded to Adjunct Professor Dan Zeman (currently, University of Warsaw) in 2019. The present coordinator of the project is Dr. Matteo Pascucci (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Central European University), who is also in charge of the Slovak chapter. Responsible for the Vienna chapter is Professor Max Kölbel (University of Vienna). Organizers on the Slovak side also include Dr. Martin Vacek (Slovak Academy of Sciences) and Dr. Mirco Sambrotta (Slovak Academy of Sciences).
The specific form taken by the planned collaboration involves the organization by the project partners of several events: up to ten talks by PhD students/ postdoctoral researchers /professors (five from each country); an international conference with invited speakers and contributed presentations selected via a call for presentations; a meeting about future collaborations. Below are the details of these events. The organizers acknowledge the gracious help of the Vienna Forum for Analytic Philosophy, the Logik Café and the "Vienna Language and Mind" seminar for providing venues for the talks at the University of Vienna.
March 5, 2020, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Analytic Philosophy seminar, Bratislava:
Poppy Mankovitz (University of Salzburg), "Verbal Disputes and Variance" [poster]
There has been recent interest in the idea that, when philosophers disagree over existence claims like 'There are numbers', 'Chairs exist' or 'There are some objective moral facts', their dispute is merely verbal: they are disagreeing about the meaning of certain words rather than about something more substantive. It is important to clearly articulate and assess this view, since it threatens to undermine the aims and conclusions of a broad range of arguments within philosophy. I will claim that the most popular existing strategy for analyzing verbal disputes - quantifier variance - is incompatible with the way natural language theorists analyze meaning. I argue that the best theories of natural language support an alternative strategy for modelling the idea of a merely verbal dispute.
March 1, 2021, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Analytic Philosophy seminar (online):
Gareth Pearce (University of Vienna), "Philosophy of Logic as Meta-Semantics" [poster]
Descriptivists about logic hold that logics are descriptive theories of truth preservation. Minimalists about truth hold that facts about truth can be reduced to facts about certain semantic relations e.g. reference and satisfaction (Field 2001, Horwitch 1999). If both descriptivists and minimalists are correct then there is an intimate connection between the correctness of a logic for a particular language and the language's (meta) semantic features. This talk outlines the consequences of the descriptivist-minimalist view for both the nature of logical correctness and the normativity of logic. The resulting picture is, I believe, a natural and attractive one that gives us reason to be descriptivist-minimalists, but such matters of taste are hard to argue for and will be omitted from this talk. I'll suffice to try and convince you that these are the consequences of the view and leave matters of judgement to another day.
March 15, 2021, University of Vienna, Logik Café (online):
Daniela Glavaničová & Matteo Pascucci (Slovak Academy of Sciences),
"Regret and Responsibility Represented via Alternative Semantics for Modal Logic" [poster]
We provide a fine-grained analysis of notions of regret and responsibility (such as agent-regret and individual responsibility) in terms of a language of multimodal logic. We interpret this logic via two sorts of models: (i) synonymy models, which are equipped with a relation of propositional synonymy, and (ii) relating models, which are equipped with a relation of propositional pertinence. We show that, under certain conditions, it is possible to provide a translation between the two semantics.
April 12, 2021, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Analytic Philosophy seminar (online):
Christopher Gauker (University of Salzburg), "Objectively Relevant Possibilities in the Semantics of Modal Connectives" [poster]
It is well accepted that modal sentences in natural language, about what might be or what must be, must always be evaluated relative to a contextually determined domain of possibilities. In this presentation I will argue for two theses. The first is that, order to capture the logic of these modal connectives, we need to define these contexts not as simple sets of worlds but as as nested sets of sets of worlds. This allows us to capture the sense in which a sentence like “It is raining but it might not be” is inconsistent. My second thesis is that in order to account for communication by means of sentences containing these modal connectives, we need to suppose that the domain of possibilities is not an information state but rather a set of objectively relevant possibilities. I will try to explain what an objectively relevant possibility is.
April 16, 2021, University of Vienna, Vienna Forum for Analytic Philosophy (online):
Amalia Haro Marchal (Slovak Academy of Sciences), "The Speech Act of Naming in Fictional Discourse" [poster]
The debate surrounding the characterization and definition of proper names has spread to those proper names embedded in fictional discourses. An influential account in this regard is the one proposed by Manuel García-Carpintero. In this talk, I present his Mill-Frege theory of proper names (2017) in connection with his normative account of fiction-making (2013). According to García-Carpintero, the speech acts performed in fiction by an author are merely pretended acts, including what García-Carpintero calls the speech act of naming. I elaborate the view that, when the particular aspects of the speech act of naming as defined by García-Carpintero are taken into account, its application to his theory of fiction-making results in a flawed conceptualization of the speech act of fiction-making; specifically, one where this speech act is rendered defective. In this regard, I will conclude that both García-Carpintero’s theory of proper names and his theory of fiction-making do not seem to work well together.
May 17, 2021, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Analytic Philosophy (online):
Hanoch Ben-Yami (Central European University), "Fictional Characters and Their Names" [poster]
Fictional characters do not exist. Names of fictional characters refer, to fictional characters. We should divorce the idea of reference from that of existence. (The Predicate Calculus with its standard semantics has misled people on this.) Many puzzles are resolved this way, e.g., negative existentials. (Some biblical characters existed, while some did not). And non-existent, fictional characters can have real effects through their representations.
May 28, 2021, University of Vienna, Vienna Language and Mind seminar (online):
Martin Vacek (Slovak Academy of Sciences), "Against Parsimony" [poster]
It is almost a platitude to claim that there are disagreements between metaphysical theories since (analytic) metaphysics is about arguments and counterexamples. Next, such disagreements occur primarily at the level of their metaphysical commitments and concern the so-called metaphysical parsimony. Finally, metaphysical parsimony as a theoretical virtue values the minimizing of theoretical commitments which come in two kinds: ontological and ideological. I argue that the distinction between ontology and ideology is too coarse-grained and the “counting” is not an exclusive guide to the truth. To motivate a finer-grained analysis I will formulate additional methodological principles against metaphysical parsimony.
June 18, 2021, University of Vienna (online):
Mirco Sambrotta (Slovak Academy of Sciences), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" [poster]
What are we doing when we use empty names, and when we recognize others using them? Do we use all of them in the same way? Is even one and the same empty name used always in the same way? With the help of a story about my little nephew and a non-existent cat called ‘Fufi’, I will attempt to address such thorny (and long-standing) issues by providing a naturalist account of empty names, that is, an account that does not necessarily commit us to the existence of entities that hardly fit into the world as described by science. According to this view, empty names are not names at all (at least not proper names) but, within intensional contexts, they may behave as though they were proper names. A de dicto report enables the ascriber to make explicit the ascribee's intentional act of using an empty name as if it were a proper name - even though, from the point of view of the ascriber, it is recognized as being just an unsuccessful or pretended act of reference. However, since the ascriber is aware that the expression cannot be used referentially, she cannot say what the intentional object is for the ascribee (although she can say that, for the ascribee, it is an object, the relevant expression is used as a proper name, it refers to an object and so on). Accordingly, the ascriber cannot report what the content of the ascribee’s intentional state is (although she can say that the relevant sentence expresses a singular proposition for the ascribee.) This, I think, can be a way of conceiving the opacity of such intentional contexts and ascriptions.
June 28, 2021, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Analytic Philosophy seminar (online):
Katharina Felka (University of Graz), "A Non-Expressivist Conventional Implicature View of Slurs" [poster]
The talk develops an intermediate conventional implicature view of slurs that integrates two separate claims found in the literature, namely (i) Bach’s (2018) claim that slurs contribute their derogative content in the manner of asides and (ii) Potts’s (2005) claim that asides conventionally implicate their content. The resulting view is a non-expressivist variant of a conventional implicature view of slurs: derogation performed by using a slur results from conveying descriptive content rather than from expressing a derogative attitude toward the target group. It is argued that this is a decisive advantage of the proposed view, since it can account for features of slurs that are mysterious from an expressivist point of view.
Value in Language
March 29-31, 2021
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Bianca Cepollaro (San-Raffaele Salute University)
Stefano Predelli (University of Nottingham)
Pekka Väyrynen (University of Leeds)
See the call for presentations here.
Work meeting about future collaborations