Amsterdam Colloquium 2017


Causality and Semantics

Invited Speakers: 

  • Hannes Leitgeb (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)

Organizers: Katrin Schulz, Robert van Rooij, Franz Berto, Peter Hawke

Philosophers such as David Lewis take the semantics of subjunctive conditionals as crucial for the analysis of causal statements. But various authors go the other way around, claiming that we need to take the concept of causation (perhaps with structural equations, as argued by authors like Pearl) as a starting point, in order to understand and assess subjunctives. Do subjunctive claims ground causal claims, then, or is it the other way round? What kind of grounding is involved here? Answering questions in this area involves work at the intersection of linguistic semantics, logic, cognitive science, the philosophy of science, modal epistemology, and metaphysics. We invite contributions addressing this topic, and especially welcome ones that try to bridge the gap between different approaches to the semantics of causal claims and conditionals.



Formal and Distributional Perspectives on Meaning

Invited speakers: 

  • Raffaella Bernardi (University of Trento)
  • Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Organizers:  Raquel Fernandez Rovira

Formal Semantics is grounded in a logic-based symbolic tradition mainly concerned with the inferential properties of language. In contrast, Distributional Semantics focuses on aspects related to descriptive content and makes use of algebraic techniques to manipulate semantic representations derived by statistical means. As argued by Boleda & Herbelot (2016), the two frameworks have complementary strengths. The aim of this workshop is to bring together formal and computational semanticists interested in synergies between these two approaches to meaning. Contributions that attempt to integrate the formal and distributional traditions are particularly welcome.



Satellite workshop on Inquisitive Semantics

Directly preceding the Amsterdam Colloquium there will be a two-day satellite workshop on inquisitive semantics and related topics, which has a separate Call for Papers.