Reports

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.