Workshop on Language and Communication

When and where

23/05/2019, 15:00


Institute for Logic, Cognition, Language and Information (ILCLI)


May 23-24, 2019

Venue: Carlos Santamaria Zentroa, Room A1. 


Thursday, May 23




Sobel Sequences as a Test Case for Static vs. Dynamic Semantics

Adam Sennet (UC, Davis)

(Joint work with Tyrus Fisher)

Static semantics treats sentences (at contexts) as expressing truth conditions/propositions/information and constructs a theory of conversational update as a matter of pragmatics. Dynamic semantics treats sentences (at contexts) as expressing functions from contexts to contexts (so sentences affect contexts and have their truth conditions affected by contexts). Justifying one framework over the other has been a difficult matter but modals, counterfactuals in particular, exhibit conversational dynamics that has promised to support one over the other. The classic cases for consideration are Sobel Sequences (SSs) and Reverse Sobel Sequences (RSSs). The most promising representative of the dynamic approach is von Fintel’s dynamic semantics for subjunctive conditionals.

We argue that overall considerations, despite initial appearances, favour the static approach.





Prior and the essential indexicals

María de Ponte (ILCLI-UPV/EHU)

Arthur Prior argued that differences in the utterances used to express emotions such as relief were key for an account of those emotional responses to events. He did so, most famously, in his paper "Thank goodness that's over" (1959). In my opinion, Prior anticipated there many of the central claims John Perry made almost twenty years later (1977, 1979). Perry famously claimed that there are some deep and important roles indexicals play in thought and action, and to do so, he made use of well-known examples. I focus on the "tardy professor" case and compare it with Prior's scenario. I argue that both Prior and Perry are presenting problems generated by cases of substitution raising a difference in cognitive significance, and I show how Prior's scenario can easily be accounted for within a Perry-inspired framework, with no commitment to any essentially indexical thought. To do this, I briefly consider the influence of Castañeda in the two authors, and I conclude my presentation with a short discussion of the ontological implications of Prior's scenario.


Friday, May 24



Revisiting Millianism

Eros Corazza (Ikerbasque, ILCLI-UPV/EHU)

Mill argued that names denote but do not connote. He also claimed that names can be used attributively, like ‘York’ in “This is York”. There is, thus, a tension. For, in such a construal we attribute to the referent picked out by the demonstrative ‘this’ the property of carrying the name ‘York’ and, therefore, that the name connotes the referent as the bearer of the name. I will show how Perry’s critical referentialism, in distinguishing between the reflexive content and the official or referential content of an utterance, helps us to dissolve this tension without having to dismiss Mill’s claims.




Means, Means, Means

Stephen Neale (CUNY) 


 (Abstract not yet available)


(Attendance is free, but it should be notified in advance to