Proper Names: Current Work in Linguistics and Philosophy of Language

May 17, 2015 - May 19, 2015
Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University

7 Oktober 6. Street
Budapest 1051

Main speakers:

David Braun
State University of New York, Buffalo
Delia Graff Fara
Princeton University
University of Groningen
Ora Matushansky
Utrecht University
Anders Schoubye
University of Edinburgh
Zsofia Zvolenszky
Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest


Craige Roberts
Ohio State University
Zsofia Zvolenszky
Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest

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Hanoch Ben-Yami, Philosophy, Central European University, Hungary

Laura Delgado, Philosophy, University of Barcelona/LOGOS Spain

Hans-Martin Gärtner, Linguistics, Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungary

Aidan Gray, Philosophy, University of Illinois Chicago Circle, USA

Julie Hunter, Philosophy, University of Toulouse III, France

Brendan Balcerak Jackson, Philosophy, Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz, Germany

Robin Jeshion, Philosophy, University of Southern California, USA

Hans Kamp, Philosophy and Linguistics, Institute for Natural Language Processing, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Karen Lewis, Philosophy, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA

Eliot Michaelson, Philosophy, King’s College, UK

Matthew Moss, Philosophy, Columbia University, USA

Joanna Odrowaz-Sypniewska, Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland

Hazel Pearson, Linguistics, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Berlin, Germany

Jessica Pepp, Philosophy, University of Oslo, Center for the Study of Mind in Nature, Norway

David Pitt, Philosophy, California State University at Los Angeles, USA

Brian Rabern, Philosophy, University of Edinburgh, UK

Craige Roberts, Linguistics, CEU/IAS, Hungary; The Ohio State University, USA

Adam Sennet, Philosophy, University of California Davis, USA

Marian Zouhar, Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic

Workshop description:

Some of the most interesting questions in philosophy and science are the ones whose answers at first seem obvious: How do we know what exists? Why does an apple fall from a tree instead of floating up? One of the central questions in philosophy of language and linguistic semantics in the 20th century was how we refer using proper names. It may seem obvious that a name refers to the person who bears it through an accord in that individual’s speech community, and that this referent is featured in the semantic content of utterances involving the name. This simple answer is reflected in Saul Kripke’s influential proposal dating from the 1970s. But by itself it fails to account for observations about the full range of uses of names. How can our theory cover names without referents, like Athena or Bugs Bunny? And consider identity statements, in connection with which one of the central figures in the early literature on proper names, Gottlob Frege, remarked: “Identity challenges reflection”. Since Hesperus and Phosphorus both refer to the same planet, Venus, how can Hesperus is Phosphorus mean something more than Hesperus is Hesperus? Closely related is the question of how to account for problems of de re belief attribution and denial: Thales didn’t believe that Hesperus was Phosphorus should not be taken to attribute to Thales a failure to appreciate the law of identity. And how are referential uses of names related to predicative uses, as in There are ten Venuses in the directory? The challenge is to capture the distinctive aspects of these various uses while still providing a unified, overarching analysis of names, one which does justice to the intuitively appealing, simple answer entertained above.

Contemporary work on these issues is being conducted by both linguists and philosophers, and the nature of the topic and some of the recalcitrant problems facing extant accounts call for their collaborative interaction. Accordingly, our invited participants include scholars from both fields. The workshop will consist of six extended sessions over two days, each led by one of our invited speakers, with ample time for discussion and interaction with the distinguished group of invited discussants. We have a website where participants can share papers and links to other relevant work, in preparation for our discussions.

Others with appropriate background are cordially invited to join us. Please let us know by May 5th if you would like to attend, so we can plan accordingly..

Schedule: Sessions are seminar style with discussion:

Monday, May 18th:

9:30 – 10:00 coffee

10:00 – 12:15 Session 1: Delia Graff Fara

12:15 – 14:00 lunch

14:00 – 16:15 Session 2: Ora Matushansky

16:15 – 16:45 coffee

16:45 – 19:00 Session 3: Anders Schoubye

Tuesday, May 19th:

9:30 – 10:00 coffee

10:00 – 12:15 Session 1: Zsófia Zvolenszky

12:15 – 14:00 lunch

14:00 – 16:15 Session 2: Emar Maier

16:15 – 16:45 coffee

16:45 – 19:00 Session 3: David Braun

There will be a post-workshop dinner for all participants on Tuesday evening. There is no registration fee, but there will be a modest charge for the final dinner.

To register, please fill out the registration form at:

For further information, contact:

[email protected]

[email protected]

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May 8, 2015, 11:00pm CET

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