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LINGUIST List 20.2170

Mon Jun 15 2009

Calls: Philosophy of Language, Pragmatics, Semantics/Germany

Editor for this issue: Amy Brunett <brunettlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Janneke Huitink, Subjective Meaning: Alternatives to Relativism 32.DGfS

Message 1: Subjective Meaning: Alternatives to Relativism 32.DGfS
Date: 15-Jun-2009
From: Janneke Huitink <janneke.huitinkgmail.com>
Subject: Subjective Meaning: Alternatives to Relativism 32.DGfS
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Full Title: Subjective Meaning: Alternatives to Relativism 32.DGfS
Short Title: Subjective Meaning

Date: 24-Feb-2010 - 26-Feb-2010
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact Person: Janneke Huitink
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://user.uni-frankfurt.de/~huitink/DGfS-workshop.html

Linguistic Field(s): Philosophy of Language; Pragmatics; Semantics

Call Deadline: 01-Aug-2009

Meeting Description:

Subjective meaning, as expressed by predicates of personal taste like
'tasty' and 'fun', has recently become the center of attention of linguists
and philosophers of language. This workshop aims to discuss various
solutions for the problem of faultless disagreement: one can deny a
speaker's subjective utterance without challenging the opinion of the
speaker. One way to account for this is to relativize truth to individuals
(relativism), but it remains open if a more conservative solution is
possible. We expect that fruitful alternatives might come from the area of
comparative semantics, or from the study of expressives.

Invited speakers:

Kai von Fintel

Call for Papers:

The main goal of this workshop is to discuss various solutions for the
problem of faultless disagreement: one may deny a speaker's subjective
utterance, without challenging the speaker's opinion.

A: Applewine is tasty!
B: Nu uh, applewine is not tasty at all!

A and B are contradicting each other, but may nevertheless both be right.
One way to account for this intuition is to extend our indices of
evaluation to include a person (the judge), thereby relativizing truth to
individuals (Lasersohn 2005, Stephenson 2007). But perhaps we can make do
with a standard context-dependent semantics, assuming that the context need
not unambiguously set the identity of the judge. Then A actually expresses
a multitude of propositions, and B just disagrees with one of these (von
Fintel & Gillies 2008). Open questions are whether such a contextualist
proposal can account for all of the data (especially the interaction with
attitude verbs) and how we can adjudicate between relativism and

Predicates of personal taste have not yet been thoroughly compared with
gradable adjectives and expressives. This is unfortunate, as promising
solutions could emerge from this.

- With gradable adjectives we find truth-conditional variability too: a
space shuttle may be expensive if one compares its price with that of a
car, or not if one compares it to other space shuttles. The standard of
comparison may be completely subjective: ''I personally find this space
shuttle expensive''. Perhaps faultless disagreement can be analyzed as
meta-linguistic disagreement about the identity of the standard of comparison?
-A speaker may report that applewine tastes good to him by simply uttering
the expressive ''Hmmm!''.
Perhaps the intuition of faultless disagreement may be reduced to general
conditions of use governing expressives? (Speaker B may ignore A's
expressive: A: ''I saw your damn dog in the park yesterday.'' B: ''No you
didn't, the cutie pie passed away last week''.)

There is still much to discover and analyze concerning the interaction
between subjective predicates and attitude verbs. Questions of interest

- How does the attitude affect the identity possibilities for the judge? (I
think that the new cat food is tasty vs. I find that the new cat food is tasty)
-How do subjective attitudes interact with gradable adjectives? (The table
is clean vs. I find the table clean (different standards))
-Why does this interaction vary? (I find the paper long vs. I find the
cigarette long)

Finally, we welcome empirical studies on subjective judgements. These
judgements could be subjective data as collected by testing consumers
(e.g., Do you prefer A over B?). What follows from these consumer tests:
that one is in fact better than the other? Descriptive sensory analysis
aims at standardize evaluation methods of consumer products. Which methods
are used in order to reduce subjective parameters in evaluating products?
Are there question types that systematically fail to induce consistent
answering patterns, because the judgements are ''too'' subjective?

We invite submissions for 30 min. or 60 min. talks (including discussion)
relating to any of the above issues. We also welcome submissions defending
relativism over possible alternatives. Abstracts should be at most 2 pages
in length. Please submit your anonymous abstract electronically in
pdf-format at https://www.easychair.org/login.cgi?conf=dgfs2010ag8. If you
have preferences regarding the talk length, please mention this in your

Submissions will be selected by the workshop organizers and the invited
speakers (further invited speakers will soon be added).

Submission deadline: August 1, 2009
Notification: September 1, 2009

Please keep in mind that participants in the DGfS-conference are only
allowed to present in one of the DGfS-workshops.

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