Logic in Language and in Conversation 2016

Nearly 50 years after Grice’s William James lectures on Logic and Conversation, the meaning and use of “logical” expressions in natural language (quantifiers, connectives, negation, modals) is a livelier topic than ever. A lot of ground has been covered over the past decades, but there are also still many disagreements. Progress lies not only in building on the existing debates, but also in shifting the focus to new and/or neglected logical phenomena in natural language semantics.

Theories of implicature hope to reconcile logical orthodoxy with linguistic reality, but there is emergent understanding that the discrepancy between logical and linguistic meaning is not a uniform
phenomenon. There are diachronic effects such as fossilization (Grice 1975, Chierchia et al. 2008, Aloni et al. 2010), interpretation may at some points be mediated by typicality effect (van Tiel 2014) and implicatures generally do not appear to be a totally homogeneous phenomenon (Doran et al. 2009, 2012; Chemla & Bott 2014; Degen 2015; van Tiel et al. 2016). Our current understanding of the interplay between syntax, semantics and pragmatics is now richer than ever.

In this workshop, we hope to bring together new insights on, and directions in, the semantics and pragmatics of logical expressions.

Possible topics include:

  • New theoretical or experimental approaches to implicatures, be they
    scalar implicatures, free choice implicatures or other
  • New approaches to the semantics and/or pragmatics of standard
    logical expressions: quantifiers, connectives, and negation
  • New theoretical or experimental approaches to modals and conditionals
  • Theoretical and/or experimental studies of scalar items more
    generally (adjectives, numerals, modified numerals)

The workshop will take place on 19-20 September, 2016, in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and is funded by the ERC-funded project “Restriction and Obviation in Scalar Expressions” (ROSE).

invited speakers:

Maria Aloni (UvA)

Emmanuel Chemla (ENS)

Luka Crnič (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Susan Rothstein (Bar Ilan University)