Month: October 2019

Talk of interest on 11/01: Chris Kennedy

The UConn Logic Group‘s Scholar of Consequence this year is Chris Kennedy, semanticist from the University of Chicago. He will be speaking on Friday, November 01, 1:30-3:00pm, in BUSN 127 (that’s in the Business School – note the unusual location). Title and abstract below.

Expressing experience: Not necessarily ‘stoned’, but ‘beautiful’

It has been frequently observed in the literature that assertions of sentences containing predicates of personal taste like ‘tasty’ and ‘fun’ give rise to an acquaintance inference that is not present in assertions of sentences containing non-subjective predicates. An utterance of “sea urchin is tasty,” for example, implies that the speaker has first-hand experience of the taste of sea urchin, but an utterance of “sea urchin is orange” does not imply first-hand experience of the color of sea urchin. The goal of this talk is to develop and defend a broadly expressivist account of this phenomenon: acquaintance inferences arise because plain sentences containing subjective predicates are designed to express distinguished kinds of mental states, which differ from beliefs in that they can only be acquired by undergoing certain experiences. The resulting framework accounts for a range of data surrounding acquaintance inferences, as well as for striking parallels between acquaintance inferences in subjective predication and the kind of considerations that have fueled motivational internalism about the language of morals.

Seminar session of interest: Kennedy on 10/31

This year’s Logic Group Scholar of Consequence, Chris Kennedy (UChicago), will be presenting some of his work in the Semantics Seminar co-taught by Stefan Kaufmann and Stewart Shapiro (listed as LING 6410 and PHIL 5342). The session takes place on Thursday, October 31, 1:30-4:00pm in Oak Hall 338 (the usual Meaning Group meeting room). This session is open to everyone interested. Chris will be discussing work on gradability in aspectual composition. Two papers that give some background are attached.

Talk of interest on 10/25: Peter Pagin

The Logic Colloquium on Friday, October 25, will feature Peter Pagin (Stokholm) with a talk of interest to semanticists (title and abstract below). Note the unusual time and place: 4pm, McHugh Hall 106.

Title: Indexicals, Time, and Compositionality

Abstract: Kaplan’s official argument in “Demonstratives” for Temporalism, the view that some English sentences express propositions that can vary in truth value across time, is the so-called Operator Argument: temporal operators, such as “sometimes”, would be vacuous without such propositions.

Equally important is the argument from compositionality. Without temporal propositions, the sentences

(I) It is raining where John is
(2) It is raining where John is now

would express the same proposition. But they embed differently:

(3) Sometimes, it is raining where John is
(4) Sometimes it is raining where John is now

(3) and (4) express distinct propositions, so if they both are of the form “Sometimes, p”, and if (1) and (2) express the same proposition, we have a violation of compositionality.

In this talk it is shown that with Switcher Semantics, which allows for a generalized form of compositionality, we can have the result that (1) and (2) agree in content when unembedded (assertoric content) but differ in content when embedded under temporal operators (ingredient sense).

We can also show that Switcher Semantics, over Kaplan’s models, preserves the validities in the Logic of Demonstratives. All in all, the arguments for Temporalism are substantially undermined.