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4th Mid-Atlantic Philosophy of Language Workshop, July 24-25

Anti-Representationalism in Semantics

The WVU Department of Philosophy and Fairmont State University's Department of Social Sciences present a workshop on the philosophy of language. The (almost) annual workshop brings some of the most influential contemporary philosophers and up-and-coming regional scholars to West Virginia University for two days of talks. Past workshops have focused on topics in the study of language such as modality, compositionality and truth. The workshop is organized by Geoff Georgi, associate professor of philosophy at WVU, and Adam Podlaskowski, associate professor of philosophy at Fairmont State University. 

This year's topic, "Anti-Representationalism in Semantics," is the proper subject matter of semantics—the formal study of meaning in language. 

What is a semantic theory fundamentally a theory about? Historically (since roughly the late 1960s), linguists and philosophers working on technical problems in linguistics have adopted a theory of meaning founded on the basic idea of representation or truth. Representational, or truth-conditional, approaches to the semantics of natural language now offer sophisticated theories of complex linguistic phenomena. But many philosophers dissent on philosophical grounds from such representationalist approaches to the theory of meaning. The variety of dissent leads in turn to a variety of anti-representationalist approaches to meaning. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together a group of scholars each of whom has addressed the debate between representationalists and anti-representationalists, in order to achieve greater clarity concerning some of the arguments and concepts on which this debate turns and make some progress in understanding of both language and ourselves.

The workshop's program and speakers are listed below. All events will be held in the Shenandoah Room of the Mountainlair. 

Wednesday, July 24

10:30 to 10:45 a.m. – Welcome 

10:50 to 11:50 a.m. – Adam Podlaskowski, Fairmont State University

11:50 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Lunch

1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Nicholas Tebben, Towson University

2:40 to 3:40 p.m. – Andrew Alwood, Virginia Commonwealth University

4 to 5 p.m. – Danielle Macbeth, Haverford College

Thursday, July 25

11 a.m. to noon – Geoff Georgi, West Virginia University

12:10 to 1:40 p.m. – Lunch

1:40 to 2:40 p.m. – Jennifer Foster, University of Southern California

2:50 to 3:50 p.m. – Michael Wolf, Washington and Jefferson College

4:10 to 5:10 p.m. – Mark Schroeder, University of Southern California