Wait, what? A Graduate Conference on Nonsense and Category Mistakes

July 4, 2024 - July 6, 2024
Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna

3F & 3A
Universitätsstraße 7
Vienna 1010

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This event is available both online and in-person


Durham University
Oxford University
University of Liverpool


University of Vienna
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

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Call for Abstracts

WAIT, WHAT? A Graduate Conference on Nonsense and Category Mistakes 

The Vienna Forum for Analytic Philosophy (WFAP) welcomes submissions of abstracts for its 13th annual graduate conference: Wait, what?! A Graduate Conference on Nonsense. The conference will take place in hybrid format July 4 – 6, 2024.

Conference Venue: Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna, Austria (hybrid)
Dates: July 4 – 6, 2024
Abstract Deadline: April 1, 2024
Notification of Success: May 31, 2024

Keynote Speakers:
Clare Mac Cumhaill (Durham) & Rachael Wiseman (Liverpool)
Ofra Magidor (Oxford)
Adrian Moore (Oxford)

Nonsense is a kind of a failure of engaging in rational discourse that seems more fundamental than saying a mere falsehood — to utter nonsense is to have failed to say anything at all. This year’s WFAP graduate conference aims to bring together early career and advanced researchers in order to discuss questions such as: How is an illusion of sense even possible? How can one distinguish nonsense from sense? How do different theories of meaning account for nonsense? Are there distinct kinds of nonsense, e.g. gibberish, category mistakes, ambiguities etc., or are all cases of nonsense due to the same kind of transgression? What is nonsense’s role in philosophical theorizing, both as a target of criticism and as an argumentative device? Does nonsense occur in ordinary discourse or is it a phenomenon that is particular to philosophical theorizing?

We welcome submissions on any topic related to our theme including but not limited to:

  • The relation of nonsense to other semantic notions, e.g., truth, compositionality, logical form etc.
  • The illusion of sense as an epistemological problem
  • The possible nonsensicality of certain kinds of discourse, e.g., pseudoscience, metaphysics
  • Methodological/metaphilosophical reflections on nonsense and category mistakes
  • The debate on substantial vs. austere theories of nonsense
  • Theories of nonsense in the history of philosophy, e.g., in early analytic philosophy.

Submission information:

– Length: Maximum of 500 words, suitable for a 25-30min presentation (45min including Q&A)
– Language: English
– Deadline: April 1, 2024
– Submission: Please submit a PDF of your anonymized abstract to [email protected] with the subject line “WFAP 2024 Abstract Submission”, along with a cover sheet containing your name, email-address and institutional affiliation.
– Funding: We aim to provide some funding for some of our invited graduate speakers. Please do let us know, whether you would like to be considered for our funding.

This conference aims to foster dialogue among young researchers (advanced MA and PhD) interested in these topics, providing a platform to present and discuss work in progress.

All abstracts will be reviewed by members of the Vienna Forum for Analytic Philosophy. Accepted papers should be suitable for a 25-30min. presentation. It should be clear from your abstract which authors and debates your paper will address. Contributions relating to the work of the keynote speakers are particularly welcome.

If you have any questions regarding our conference, please do not hesitate to contact the Forum’s chairperson, Martin Niederl ([email protected]).

We especially welcome and encourage submissions from members of under-represented groups in philosophy!

Website: https://wfap.philo.at/13th-wfap-graduate-conference/

We look forward to your submissions!

The Vienna Forum for Analytic Philosophy

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