Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ordinary Language, Linguistics, and Philosophy

Methods VI: Ordinary Language, Linguistics, and Philosophy
Arché Research Centre, University of St Andrews
Time: 23-25 June, 2011
Location: Arts Lecture Theatre, St Andrews

The AHRC Project on 'Intuitions and Philosophical Methodology' at the Arché Philosophical Research Centre will host a major Conference on Philosophical Methodology 23-25 June, 2011, at the University of St. Andrews.

Call for Papers
The conference will include submitted papers. If you are interested in presenting at the conference please submit a CV (1 page) and abstract (up to 500 words) describing the main theses and arguments of the paper by February 15th 2011 to Presentations will be approximately 40 mins in length. Successful applicants will be notified by March 15th 2011. See below for details of the conference theme.

Keynote Speakers

• Robert Stalnaker, MIT
• Zoltan Szabo, Yale
• Dave Chalmers, ANU
• Jason Stanley, Rutgers
• Jessica Brown, St Andrews
• Herman Cappelen, St Andrews

Conference Theme
It has become increasingly popular to claim that the subject matter of philosophy is neither linguistic nor conceptual. In this sense, it has been suggested that the so-called "linguistic turn" was a mistake and the target of philosophy properly conceived is nonconceptual and nonlinguistic (e.g., Williamson, The Philosophy of Philosophy). Despite this, philosophers still routinely appeal to ordinary linguistic use and linguistic theory in constructing and criticising philosophical theories. The contrast between the alleged target of philosophy and continued reliance on linguistic information in solving philosophical questions raises a number of issues which are the focus of this conference. For example:

•How should one best understand the linguistic or conceptual turn and, in particular, is it best understood as concerned with the subject matter, or the methodology of philosophy?

•In what sense, if any, is philosophy’s subject matter non-linguistic and/or nonconceptual?

•If the subject matter of philosophy is nonlinguistic and nonconceptual, how can we make sense of philosophers’ continued heavy reliance on linguistic data as settling philosophical questions?

•Can one draw metaphysical conclusions from the way we represent the world linguistically and conceptually?

•To what extent should philosophical theory be guided by linguistic usage as opposed to other considerations such as theoretical simplicity and naturalness (Lewis, Sider, Weatherson); or, the best relevant science (e.g. the Churchlands, Kornblith)?

•Even when the subject matter of a particular philosophical debate is clearly about language, to what extent should the scientific theory of linguistics be held to determine the answer to this enquiry given the disciplinary differences between philosophy and linguistics?

•Does linguistics have any special relevance to settling philosophical questions, a relevance not had by other empirical disciplines such as cognitive science? How should we respond when we get apparently conflicting results to a philosophical question by appeal to different empirical disciplines (for instance different answers to the question of the relation of knowledge how and knowledge that provided by work in linguistics and cognitive science)?

We are interested both in general considerations of the above and related questions, and in methodologically reflective case studies.

Further Details:
Contact Jonathan ( or Yuri (ywc4@st- or visit the conference website (

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