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Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy 2014

Franšois Recanati: Contextualism and Singular Reference, June 17-19


The Lecturer
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Franšois Recanati (Photo: Isidora Stojanovic)

François Recanati has taught in several major universities around the world, including Berkeley, Harvard, Geneva, and St Andrews. In addition to being research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, he is a ‘directeur d’études’ at EHESS, and the Director of a research lab in philosophy, linguistics and cognitive science at Ecole Normale Supérieure. His numerous publications in the philosophy of language and mind include Meaning and Force (Cambridge University Press, 1987), Direct Reference : From Language to Thought (Blackwell 1993), Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta (MIT Press/Bradford Books 2000), Literal Meaning (Cambridge University Press, 2004), Perspectival Thought (Oxford University Press, 2007), Philosophie du langage (et de l’esprit) (Gallimard 2008), Truth-Conditional Pragmatics (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Mental Files (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is a co-founder and past President of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy, and has been elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.


The Lectures

In the lectures professor Recanati will discuss three debates that have taken place in the philosophy of language since the mid-twentieth century: the debate between ‘ideal language philosophy’ and ‘ordinary language philosophy’ in the fifties and sixties, the debate over speaker's reference and the attributive/referential distinction in the sixties and seventies, and the debate between contextualism and minimalism which started in the eighties and culminated a few years ago. These debates, he will argue, are facets of one and the same controversy over the foundations of semantics. The controversy is still alive today: it is a mistake to believe that the issue has settled by the famous arguments put foward by Geach, Grice and Kripke against their contextualist opponents.


Revision: 2014/04/07 - 16:15