1 february 2021

31 January 2021 marked the end of the third year of the project. Since the previous report, we welcomed Pam Rossel as our new research assistant, replacing Patty den Enting.

EXPRESS team members have been continuing with previous lines of research and developing new ones. Here are some highlights:

  • Luca and Julian have continued the development of inferential expressivism and of the multilateral framework. Several formal properties of the framework are investigated in their ‘Epistemic multilateral logic’, forthcoming in The Review of Symbolic Logic. Luca and Julian further applied the framework to provide novel theories of truth and vagueness.
  • Luca and Giorgio continued the development of game-theoretic models of the evolution of negation and modality. A representative paper here is ‘The evolution of denial’, forthcoming in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
  • Luca and Giorgio developed a version of update semantics including both assertion and rejection and used it to explain why there is no expression meaning ‘not both’ in any human language.
  • The EXPRESS team developed a novel theory of the speech act of retraction.
  • Leïla worked on the notion of Fregean colouring and carried out a corpus study on the occurrence patterns of epistemic expressions.
  • Julian worked on focal stress and pitch contour in English dialogue (‘Understanding focus: Pitch, placement and coherence’, with Alex Lascarides, Semantics and Pragmatics).
  • With Carlo Nicolai (King’s College, London), Luca developed a novel account of logical and scientific strength in a theory.
  • With Filippo Ferrari (University of Padua), Luca developed a novel account of what it means to be agnostic about some subject matter.
  • Giorgio’s work on aboutness and the Russell-Myhill Paradox is now forthcoming in the Journal of Philosophy.

Team members presented their work at conferences and colloquia in St Andrews (UK), London (UK), Lecce (Italy), Madison (Wisconsin, US), Warsaw (Poland), Uppsala (Sweden), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Konstanz (Germany), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, US), Bonn (Germany), Berlin (Germany), Munich (Germany), Bologna/Bonn/Padua (Italy & Germany).

We ran several events:

  • Team members met weekly for the EXPRESS Reading Group. In 2019/20, we discussed papers on speech acts and expressivism. In the first half of 2020/21, we discussed work on metasemantics, probability and conditionals.
  • The EXPRESS Seminar hosted excellent talks by Hedde Zeijlstra (Göttingen), Ellen Breitholtz (Gothenburg), Melissa Fusco (Columbia), Daniel Rothschild (University College London), Manfred Krifka (ZAS Berlin), Julien Murzi and Brett Topey (Salzburg).
  • The EXPRESS Workshop on Non-Assertoric Speech Acts took place online on 28 and 29 January 2021. Talks were delivered by Leïla Bussière (EXPRESS), Laura Caponetto (Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan), Fausto Carcassi (Amsterdam) & Giorgio Sbardolini (EXPRESS), Daniel Harris (Hunter College, New York), Manfred Krifka (ZAS Berlin) and Craige Roberts (NYU / Ohio State).

1 August 2019

31 July 2019 marked the end of the first year and a half of the EXPRESS project, so this is a good time to provide an overview of what we’ve been doing so far. First Steps, after Millet (1890) by Vincent Van Gogh. Original f

We were very happy to welcome Patty den Enting as research assistant (from 1 February 2018), Leïla Bussière as PhD student in Philosophy of Language and Semantics (from 1 September 2018), Julian Schlöder as postdoc in Logic (from 1 September 2018) and Giorgio Sbardolini as postdoc in Language and Computation (from 1 April 2019).

EXPRESS team members have been busy developing several lines of research, revolving around disagreement and the project’s central thesis of inferential expressivism. Here are some highlights.

  • In joint work with Salvatore Florio (‘Metalogic and the Overgeneration Argument’, forthcoming in Mind, and ‘Overgeneration in the higher infinite’, forthcoming in the collected volume The Semantic Conception of Logic), Luca focused on whether second-order logic is compatible with the dialectical and informational neutrality of logic.
  • Luca and Julian developed inferential expressivism and the multilateral framework for weak and strong forms of assertion and rejection (‘Weak assertion’, forthcoming in The Philosophical Quarterly). They also applied inferential expressivism to the case of meta-ethics (‘Inferential expressivism and the negation problem’, forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Metaethics and recipient of the Marc Sanders Prize in Metaethics).
  • Julian defended a counterfactual understanding of knowability which solves the paradox of knowability and avoids Williamson’s objections to Edgington (‘Counterfactual knowability revisited’, forthcoming in Synthese).
  • Leïla worked on the development of theories of rejection mirroring extant theories of assertion as well as on the adversative marker ‘but’.
  • Giorgio showed how a hierarchical conception of propositions can escape some objections raised to it in the literature (‘On hierarchical propositions’, forthcoming in The Journal of Philosophical Logic).
  • Luca and Giorgio began working on simulation models for the emergence of negation and epistemic modality.

Team members presented their work and the project’s findings at conferences and colloquia in Munich (Germany), Utrecht (Netherlands), Bonn (Germany), Salzburg (Austria), Münster (Germany), New York (US), Leuven (Belgium), Łódź (Poland) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).

We ran several events within the project:

  • The team members met weekly for the EXPRESS Reading Group, during which articles pertaining to the project’s themes were discussed. In the first half of 2018/19 we focused on theories of assertion, and in the second half we focused on negation and anti-exceptionalism about logic.
  • The EXPRESS Seminar hosted excellent talks by Francesca Poggiolesi (Paris), Mariangela Cocchiaro (Hong Kong), Sebastian Speitel (San Diego), Filippo Ferrari (Bonn), our own Giorgio Sbardolini, Una Stojnic (Columbia, who gave two talks and visited the project for a week) and Kyle Blumberg (New York).
  • The EXPRESS Workshop on Bilateral Approaches to Meaning took place from 20 to 22 June 2019. We had four talks by invited speakers (Maria Aloni, Teresa Marques, Greg Restall, David Ripley), two talks by EXPRESS team members (Luca & Julian, Leïla) and four contributed talks (David Beisecker, Peter Hawke & Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Lucas Rosenblatt, Sebastian Speitel). The talks covered topics such as the history of bilateralism, normative disputes, and bilateral or multilateral approaches to epistemic modals, conditionals and normative vocabulary. It was great to have a chance for proof-theoretic and model-theoretic approaches to bilateralism to interact, and for the proof-theoretic approach developed within the EXPRESS project and the proof-theoretic approach of the Melbourne school to interact.