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R. Stalnaker

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Robert Stalnaker

Professeur de Philosophie (MIT)


Thème général : "What might a context be ?"

In discussions of contextualism and context-dependence, it is often unclear exactly what is meant by a context – exactly what it is that context-dependent concepts or expressions are dependent on. My general aim in these lectures is to explore what is meant by context in discussions of semantics and pragmatics, and what role different notions of context play in the explanation of linguistic phenomena. I will begin by contrasting two technical notions of context that have played a role in semantic/pragmatic theory. (The third notion is the common sense notion of context that the technical notions aim to explicate). The two formal representations of context are complementary rather than competing notions, but there are some tensions between them, and some puzzles that arise when they are conflated. In the second lecture, I will explore one of these notions of context in more detail: the notion of common ground. One question about the notion of common ground is whether it should be thought of as a component of a conventional “language game”, implicitly defined by the constitutive rules of the game, or alternatively as a complex propositional attitude that is intelligible independently of any conventional practice. This question, which connects with general questions about the relation between semantics and pragmatics, will be explored in the third lecture. The fourth lecture will look, from the perspective of the different notions of context, at the role of essentially self-locating information, and the way we communicate about it in conversation.

Le mardi de 14h à 16h à l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 54 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, Salle 524.


- Mardi 5 janvier 2010 :
"Three notions of context"

- Mardi 12 janvier 2010 :
"Common ground and the scoreboard"

- Mardi 19 janvier 2010 :
"Compositionality and the Gricean strategy"

- Exceptionnellement cette dernière conférence aura lieu dans l'amhithéâtre au 105, bd Raspail 
 Mardi 26 janvier :
"The essential contextual"




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