María Inés Crespo

Subjectivity, evaluativity and meaning

Tuesday 1 September 2015, Belle van Zuylenzaal, University of Amsterdam


Belle van Zuylenzaal (University Library, room C1.13), University of Amsterdam (Singel 425, 1012 WP).

The workshop is open to everybody with no admission fee.



14:30 - 15:15 Filip Buekens, Friction and Harmony in the Realm of Taste
15:15 - 16:00 Louise McNally, The limited context sensitivity of aesthetic adjectives (based on a paper with Shen-yi Liao and Aaron Meskin)
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break
16:30 - 17:15 Carla Umbach, Some commonalities and differences between dimensional and aesthetic predicates


Organised by Inés Crespo, Martin Stokhof, Frank Veltman and Robert van Rooij.


(If you want to know more about Mme. Belle van Zuylen,
click here.)

The workshop is
co-located with
the PhD defence of
Inés Crespo which will take place in the Agnietenkapel of the University of Amsterdam
on 1 September
at 10:00 am.

Gradable adjectives like tasty and long are similar in some respects. Judgements like "This cake is tasty" or "This is a long book" can lead us to disputes which are hard to settle, appartently because tasty and long are, in some sense, subjective. Moreover, these adjectives are evaluative: You can exclaim "What a long book!" or "What a tasty cake!".

Formal semanticists and philosophers of language have recently paid much attention to the subjectivity of adjectives like tasty because the intuitive analysis of a taste dispute (viz. that each of the parties in the dispute says something true) challenges the traditional truth-conditional approach to meaning.

Wherein lie the subjectivity and evaluativity of these terms? Are other regions of natural language likewise subjective or evaluative? Should we stay within the truth-conditional approach when modeling their meaning, or rather move to a different approach?

This workshop aims at bringing together philosophers and semanticists, and host a discussion on pressing issues related to how subjectivity and evaluativity appear in natural language, and how these features can best be modeled.