CFP: Dual Character Concepts, Normative Generics and Evaluative Language

Submission deadline: November 15, 2021

Conference date(s):
June 16, 2022 - June 18, 2022

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, University of Zürich
Zürich, Switzerland

Topic areas


The Department of Philosophy at the University of Zurich hosts a conference on Dual Character Concepts, Normative Generics and Evaluative Language. The conference will be held in Zurich from 10th to 12th March 2022. Its thematic focus is on normative and evaluative phenomena in natural language, both from a theoretical and empirical perspective. Our confirmed keynote speakers are:

Guillermo Del Pinal (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Katharina Felka (University of Graz)

Susan Gelman (University of Michigan)

Joshua Knobe (Yale University)

Norms and evaluations are integral to everyday language, and yet, some of the means and mechanisms by which those norms are communicated have only recently come to the fore. Two prominent examples that have received increased attention in both philosophical and psychological research are dual character concepts and generics. Dual character concepts like art, colleague and happiness, have an independent normative dimension often expressed by statements like “This is true art” or “she is truly happy”. As such they are distinguishable from more obvious normative concepts like thick (e.g., courageous) and thin concepts (e.g., awesome). Generic sentences also often encode substantial normative content and regularly communicate harmful social biases, e.g., “boys don’t cry”, “girls don’t play football”. In order to account for the diverse normative aspects of generics, various new frameworks have been recently proposed. Other linguistic vehicles that communicate normative content and have seen a rise in both theoretical as well as empirical work include thick concepts, slurs, and expressives.

In the spirit of exploring new avenues in experimental and theoretical research on normative phenomena of language, we call for extended abstracts (300-500 words) for presentations at this conference. While we are particularly interested in work related to dual character concepts and generics, submitted abstracts may be on any aspects of semantic representations of normative and evaluative content, pragmatic effects, mechanisms of normative communication, as well as their effects on society at large. We welcome abstracts featuring purely theoretical as well as experimental and interdisciplinary research.

To submit an abstract, please use the Easychair website:

Deadline for Submitted Abstracts: 15th November. Notifications will be sent out on 30th November.


Lucien Baumgartner (University of Zurich), [email protected]

Kevin Reuter (University of Zurich), [email protected]

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