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:: Calls :: Newton Fund Conference on the Philosophies of Mind, Language & Action  is set for 19-23 September, in São Paulo. Quine Lectures by John Searle (Berkeley). Extended Deadline for abstracts: March 31.

Quine Lectures: John Searle (University of California, Berkeley)
Keynote speakers:
Luiz Henrique Dutra (Federal University of Santa Catarina)
Michelle Montague (University of Texas, Austin)
Marco Ruffino (State University of Campinas)
Luiz Henrique L. dos Santos (University of Sao Paulo)
Galen Strawson (University of Texas, Austin)
José Zalabardo (University College London)
André Bazzoni (University of Sao Paulo, University College London)
Galen Strawson (University of Texas, Austin)
José Zalabardo (University College London)
Call for Abstracts: We invite 1-page abstracts in any topic belonging to the philosophical areas of Mind, Language and Action, as well as in correlated disciplines such as Linguistics, Cognitive Sciences, Neuroscience etc.  The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2016.

Abstracts in PDF, Word or Latex should be emailed to milact2016@gmail.com (see detailed instructions here). Decisions by April 15.

Contributions should be suitable for a 30-minute presentation (including discussion).


MiLAct16 is part of the Newton Fund project Mind, language and action: Investigating the connections between the physical and human realities, generously supported by the British Academy. Its principal aim is to bring together philosophers working in the areas of Mind, Language and Action, as well as in correlated fields such as Linguistics and Cognitive Sciences, to discuss the nature of the relationship between the physical and human realities.


One central question that guides philosophical inquiry (and one that is especially emphasized in the work of John Searle) is how the human reality consisting of various complex organizations such as language and social institutions is generated by the purely physical reality as described by the natural sciences. How the human reality of thought, meaning and free will can fit in a causally closed physical reality, in which purportedly only physical causes can produce physical effects?
A number of traditional debates derive from such a crucial question. The mind/body problem in its diverse formulations is essentially the problem of how the apparently immaterial reality of thoughts and sensations can affect, and be affected by, physical events. Similarly, certain theories of meaning try to account for the capacity of purely physical sounds and inscriptions to get people to perform all sorts of actions.
In the philosophy of language, some of the relevant figures to the present proposal are the late Wittgenstein, Austin, Strawson, Grice and Searle, among others. These philosophers contributed to moving the discussion away from a purely abstract conception of meaning (e.g., Frege’s ‘third-realm’ of Sinn) by emphasizing the role of human activity as a crucial component of linguistic meaning. Wittgenstein’s lemma “meaning is use”, Austin/Searle’s notion of a speech act, Strawson’s notion of speaker’s meaning, and Grice’s intentionalistic views on meaning are examples of such a strategy. In his work in the philosophy of action, Searle further attempted to reduce the reality of human institutions to a particularly interesting kind of speech acts that he called declarations.

This intellectual evolution thus paved the way to a fruitful research agenda linking the human realities of mind, language and social institutions, to the more fundamental and so to speak meaningless reality described by natural sciences. This is the overall landscape in which the present project is designed to fit in.
For further information contact milact2016@gmail.com.