Berkeley Workshop 'Speech Acts and Propositions', January 31, 2015

Workshop sponsored by the France-Berkeley Fund project 'The Action-Product Distinction and Its Importance for Speech Act Theory and Social Ontology' (Friederike Moltmann / John Searle)

University of California Berkeley
Department of Philosophy
314 Moses Hall, MC 2390
Dennes Room (TBC)


10.00 - 11.45: Pranav Anand (UCSC): 'A Factive Split in Reporting Beliefs and Assertions'
11.45 - 12.00: Coffee
12.00 - 1.45: Cleo Condoravdi (Stanford): 'Assertions, Declarations and Explicit Performatives'

1.45 - 3.00: Lunch

3.00 - 4.45: John Searle (Berkeley): 'What is a Proposition?'
4.45 - 5.00: Coffee
5.00 - 6.45: Friederike Moltmann (CNRS-IHPST / NYU): 'Cognitive, Illocutionary, and Modal Products'


Pranav Anand: 'A Factive Split in Reporting Beliefs and Assertions'

This is a talk in two parts. The first part concerns a split among attitude predicates. While many attitude predicates seem to presuppose that their complement is true, including the cognitive factives (know, discover, realize) and emotive factives (love, regret, sad), it will be shown that there are no factives among lexical items reporting an assertive communicative act (e.g., claim, say; argue, explain). This split will be argued to follow from a systematic grammatical distinction between predicates that report the mental states and those that report discourse moves of conversational agents. The second part of the talk will examine the case of several putative factive assertion report predicates (e.g, point out, reveal) in detail, arguing that the sense of "factivity" here arises from a combination of default assumptions about common ground updates and conversational membership.

Friederike Moltmann: 'Cognitive, Illocutionary, and Modal Products'

This talk will outline a theory of the meaning of sentences based not on the notion of a proposition, but the notion of a cognitive product. Cognitive products are entities like thoughts, claims, and demands, the abstract artifacts that result from acts of thinking, claiming, or demanding. Unlike acts, cognitive products may have truth or satisfaction conditions (and truthmakers or satisfiers), and unlike propositions they are cognitive, agent-dependent entities and associated with a force. The talk will focus on new applications of the theory of cognitve products to the semantics of different types of sentences and clausal complements as well as to modals.

John Searle: 'What is a Proposition?'

The notion of a proposition is essential in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. But many false conceptions of propositions continue to be influential. My aim in this talk is to give a mentalist take account that shows the essential relations between propositions and content consciousness.

For a short description of the FB Fund project see here.