Course Description

Our topic for Spring 2018 will be Formal Frameworks for Semantics and Pragmatics. We'll be investigating a range of questions in semantics and/or pragmatics which involve or are relevant to the choice between different kinds of overall structure for theories in these areas.

In most sessions, the members of the seminar will receive a week in advance, copies of recent work, or work in progress from a thinker at another university. After reading this work, students discuss it with one of the instructors on the day before the colloquium. Then at the Tuesday colloquium, the instructors give a summary review and raise criticisms or questions about the work. The author responds to these, and also to questions from the audience.


The main seminar meetings are on Tuesday from 4-7, in the second floor seminar room of the Philosophy Department. Additionally, there will be a supplementary meeting open to all students participating in the seminar (whether enrolled or not) on Mondays from 4-5, in the same location in the fifth-floor seminar room.

This seminar is open to all interested parties.

There is a googlegroups mailing list for the class. If you want to receive announcements, please add yourself to that list. (To be able to access the mailing list's web interface, you'll need to log into Google's systems using an identity Google recognizes, like a Gmail address, or a NYU email address because of how NYU's authentication systems are connected to Google. But there's no real need to see the mailing list's web interface. You just need some email address to be added to list, then any messages we send to the list will get forwarded to all the email addresses then registered on the list. If you want us to add an address to the list that you can't log into Google's systems with, just send us a message with the address you want registered.)

Schedule and Papers

Papers will be posted here as they become available. Some may be password-protected; the password will be distributed in class.
23 Jan
Introductory session (no meeting on Monday 22 Jan), Jim's handout

Some people asked for more background reading. Here are two useful textbooks: Heim & Kratzer, then von Fintel & Heim. Here is a survey article about different treatments of pronoun anaphora. Here is a course page with links to more reading.

30 Jan
Jim Pryor (NYU, web, mail), "De Jure Codesignation"
6 Feb
Mandy Simons (CMU, web, mail), "Convention, Intention, and the Conversational Record" and (with Kevin Zollman) "Natural Conventions and the Semantics/Pragmatics Divide"

(Mandy is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 5 Feb at 6:30.)

13 Feb
Paul Pietroski (Rutgers, mail), "Semantic Typology and Composition" (minor updates posted on Friday 9 Feb at 1:06 AM).
20 Feb
Karen Lewis (Columbia/Barnard, web, mail), "Anaphora and Negation" and "Discourse dynamics, pragmatics, and indefinites"
27 Feb
Daniel Rothschild (UCL, web, mail), "A Trivalent Approach to Anaphora and Presupposition" and (with Matt Mandelkern) "Projection from Situations"

(Daniel is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 26 Feb at 6:30.)

6 Mar
John Hawthorne (USC, mail)
13 Mar
Spring Break
20 Mar
Lucas Champollion (NYU, web, mail)
27 Mar
Matthew Mandelkern (Oxford, web, mail)
3 Apr
Paolo Santorio (UC-San Diego, web, mail)
10 Apr
Una Stojnić (Columbia, web, mail)
17 Apr
Seth Yalcin (UC-Berkeley, web, mail)
24 Apr
Stephen Schiffer (NYU, web, mail)
1 May
Maria Aloni (ILLC and Philosophy/Amsterdam, web, mail)

(Maria is also speaking in the NYPL on Monday 30 Apr at 6:30.)