13th Sep 2017 - 15th Sep 2017
Conference jointly organised by the University of Brighton, the National and Kapodistrian, the University of Athens and the University of Neuchâtel.
The interpretation of language, whether in acts of ordinary communication or in works of literature or poetry, involves a massive amount of inferential reconstruction. It is generally presumed that since inference operates over propositions, what is reconstructed is propositional: in Gricean terminology, a speaker ‘meansNN that p’. But this cannot always be the case. Sometimes, what a speaker intends to convey is too nebulous to be paraphrased in propositional, conceptual terms at all – it is ‘descriptively ineffable’. And a good deal of what is conveyed in communicative acts is quite vague. What a hearer is often able to infer is a weakly implicated, or an array of weakly implicated, impressions: aesthetic experience, emotions or attitudes. Sperber and Wilson (2015) point out that linguists, philosophers and pragmatists have tended to focus their attention on cases that congregate in the top left corner of a square formed by a continuum between showing and meaning and another between determinate and indeterminate meaning. The ineffable, vague aspects of communication, despite that fact that they are crucial to our understanding of language use, have largely been ignored.
The aim of this conference is to encourage exploration of the territory beyond meaning. How might the descriptive ineffability of expressives, interjections, perspectival interpretations of tenses, intensifiers, figures etc. be accommodated within a more general theory of language use? How might we account for the communication of non-propositional phenomena such as moods, emotions and impressions? Do pauses, creative metaphors, unknown words in L2 and other ‘pointers’ to ‘conceptual regions’ (Carston 2002) communicate concepts? More broadly, what type of cognitive response do these phenomena trigger, if not conceptual-propositional?
The answers to these questions will also have a range of implications for our understanding types of language use that pursue aims which are not, strictly speaking, communicative: literature and poetry, for example. It could be argued that poetic and literary theorists have fallen into the same trap as linguists. They have traditionally treated literary texts as objects that are designed to be interpreted through the achievement of effects at a conceptual level. But these objects surely involve different kinds of effect: perceptual, emotional, and perhaps others... Moreover, the answers will have implications for how we understand other types of human activities – such as art at large – which involve the instantiation of effects that go ‘beyond meaning’. To ask of an artwork ‘What does it mean?’ might simply be the wrong question: literature and art are about more than mere conceptualizing. It might even be the wrong question to ask of ordinary conversation.
The Beyond Meaning conference will bring together scholars from linguistics, cognitive psychology, philosophy/aesthetics and the study of literature and art. We aim to broaden the current machinery and scope of pragmatics and cognitive science and perhaps lead to a reconsideration of the notion of meaning itself.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Linguistic descriptive ineffability
• Cognition and affect
• Literary theorizing of emotions and impressions
• Aesthetic experience
• Emotions and attitudes in linguistic and non-linguistic representational systems
• Emotions and understanding
• The showing-meaning distinction
• The non-conceptual dimension of figurative meanings
Paper submission and important dates
Submissions are invited in English in the following format: one 500 word (max) abstract (excluding references).
Submissions must be uploaded on the Easychair platform exclusively by following this link:
Abstracts submission deadline: April 1st, 2017.
Notifications to authors will be sent by June 1st, 2017.
Preliminary programme will be available by June 30th, 2017
Final programme will be available by July 30th, 2017
Registration: Early bird: by July 30th, 2017; Final deadline: August 15th, 2017.
Greg CURRIE (University of York);
Nigel FABB (University of Strathclyde);
Patrizia LOMBARDO (University of Geneva);
Deirdre WILSON (University College London & University of Oslo)
Conference chairs and organizing Committee:
Elly Ifantidou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens);
Louis de Saussure (University of Neuchâtel);
Tim Wharton (University of Brighton);
Patricia Kolaiti (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens & New York College Athens)
Members of the OC:
Agapi Xifara, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens;
Phoebe Dimoula, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens;
Katie McCallum, University of Brighton;
Thierry Raeber, University of Brighton & University of Neuchâtel;
Misha Müller, University of Neuchâtel.
Nicholas Allott, University of Oslo
Miranda Anderson, University of Edinburgh
Sylvain Briens, Université La Sorbonne, Paris
Andrew Caink, University of Westminster
Siobhan Chapman, University of Liverpool
Paul Chilton, University of Lancaster
Billy Clark, Middlesex University London
Julien Deonna, University of Geneva
Alan Durant, Middlesex University London
Victoria Escandell-Vidal, UNED Madrid
Laurent Gosselin, University of Rouen
Anna Hatzidaki, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Didier Maillat, University of Fribourg
Sophia Marmaridou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Tomoko Matsui, Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Tokyo
Kiki Nikiforidou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Manuel Padilla Cruz, University of Seville
Anna Papafragou, University of Delaware
Jesus Romero Trillo, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Liana Sakelliou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Kate Scott, Kingston University
Fabrice Teroni, University of Geneva
John Wrighton, University of Brighton
Francisco Yus, University of Alicante
Sandrine Zufferey, University of Berne
Call for papers open: http://www.beyondmeaning.net