What is Cognitive Science

Reference and Sortals

Dr. Friederike Moltmann

Thursday, October 11, 2007, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Director of Research, CNRS, Paris, FRANCE

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The received view in contemporary philosophy of language is that� sortals are not needed for reference: the reference of a term,� especially that of a directly referential term can be fixed without� the help of a sortal. In this talk I will present a range of new� linguistic generalizations that indicates that reference to abstract� objects (such as facts, propositions and numbers) and certain derived� objects (such as collections) does indeed require a sortal and cannot� be achieved by a 'nonreferential' expression alone, such as a� that-clause, a plural like 'the children', or a numeral like 'eight'.
I will argue that predicates when taking such a nonreferential� expression as complement must be understood in a new way, not as� expressing a property applying to an object, but as specifying� 'multiple relations' (for that-clauses), as being multigrade (for� plurals), or as syncategorematically interacting with what is� expressed by a numeral, as on the 'adjectival strategy' for treating� number terms, discussed in the philosophy of mathematics.

Dr. Friederike Moltmann


"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

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