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7-9 April 2008, VAGUENESS and LANGUAGE USE, Paris, ENS & Institut Jean-Nicod

Date: 7-9 April 2008
Location: Paris, ENS & Institut Jean-Nicod
Target audience: linguists and philosophers, see CFP
Costs: no conference fees
Deadline: 15 January 2008
Promotor: Paul Egré (IJN) & Nathan Klinedinst (UCL/IJN)

Vagueness is a pervasive phenomenon in natural language, which appears to be instantiated in nearly all lexical categories (including adjectives, nouns, verbs, and quantifiers). In recent years, progress has been made, both in philosophy and in linguistics, to characterize the sources as well as the varieties of vagueness. At the foundational level, a central debate concerns the epistemic vs. semantic nature of the vagueness phenomenon, and the proper understanding of the relation between the notions of vagueness, ambiguity, context-dependence, and imprecision. In linguistic theory, some significant advances have been made on the semantics of gradable adjectives and on the role and behavior of vagueness related adverbs (such as "clearly", "approximately", and "definitely").

These advances raise the question of how empirical studies of language may bear on the debate about the nature of vagueness, and whether they can help to adjudicate between competing accounts (epistemic vs. semantic theories, contextualist vs. non-contextualist accounts). In addition to that, a number of issues remain open for investigation: is vagueness manifested and resolved in the same way across lexical categories (nouns vs. adjectives, logical vs. non-logical expressions)? How is the vagueness of lexical items blocked or inherited in larger semantic units (e.g. in comparative constructions), and what can this tell us about its nature? How do various theories explain the fact that we use vague terms successfully to communicate meaning in spite of their vagueness? The aim of this conference will be to bring together linguists and philosophers, with contributions on both the foundational and the empirical aspects of the phenomenon of vagueness in natural language.

For Conference Description and details of the CFP, see: or contact .

Deadline for submission: January 15, 2008.

Please note that this newsitem has been archived, and may contain outdated information or links.