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Semantics and Philosophy of Language

Graduate Workshop
Council on Advanced Studies, University of Chicago

The subject of meaning in natural language is currently investigated both by philosophers and linguists, with different foci, methods, and emphases. The two are typically guided by different concerns and goals (e.g., linguists are central concerned with patterns of cross-linguistic variation and language acquisition; philosophers investigate the normativity of language and the metaphysical presuppositions of particular theoretical claims), but both groups can profit from cross-disciplinary discussions and mutual understanding of their different questions, methods and results. The goal of this workshop is to bring together philosophers and linguists working on these issues at the University of Chicago, in an effort to stimulate discussion of these issues across disciplinary lines.

The topic of the Workshop during the 2007-8 academic year will be compositionality: the hypothesis that the meaning of a complex expression is fully determined by the meanings of its parts and the way in which they are put together.