Value in Language

March 29, 2021 - March 30, 2021
Department of Analytic Philosophy, Slovak Academy of Sciences

Klemensova 19

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • Slovak Academic Information Agency

Main speakers:

Institut Jean Nicod
Nottingham University
University of Leeds


University of Warsaw

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Many expressions in natural language are used to convey how we value parts of the world – things, events, actions, people. We use them to express our own opinions, but they also help us gain insight into what others think. Value and valuing is a crucial part of our lives: it guides us into action, it categorizes the world around us, it shapes our identity.

The workshop focuses on issues in the semantics of natural language expressions that are used to express value and valuing. Evaluative expressions (moral terms like “good”, “bad” or “ought to”, aesthetic adjectives like “beautiful”, “ugly”, “balanced”, predicates of taste like “tasty”, “disgusting”, ”boring”, thick terms like “curageous” or “generous”), slurs like “boche” and expressives like “damn” are among the expressions that involve, in some way or another, valuing and value. Among the questions this workshop aims at tackling are the following:

-       How do languages encode value (if at all)?

-       Should value be part of the semantics of a language or of pragmatics (or neither)?

-       What are the best arguments for the main approaches to these expressions in the literature?

-       How to accommodate non-orthodox uses of the expressions at stake (e.g., non-derogatory uses of slurs)?

-       How is disagreement involving the expressions in question to be accounted for?

-       What is the connection between the semantics of these expressions and the social milieus in which they are used?

-       How are the most prominent linguistic features of those expressions (e.g., the “hyper-projectivity” of slurs) to be treated?

Invited speakers

The following philosophers have confirmed their presence at the workshop:

Bianca Cepollaro (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University)
Stefano Predelli (University of Nottingham)
Pekka Väyrynen (University of Leeds)


The workshop is organized by Dan Zeman, as part of a S.A.I.A. Initiative Project (“Slovak-Austrian Philosophy of Language Network”, no. 2019-10-15-007) and the help of the Department of Analytic Philosophy, Slovak Academy of Sciences.

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