Institut Jean Nicod

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Aesthetics and Cognitive Science (ÆCS)


Contact : Jérôme Dokic, Filippo Contesi or Enrico Terrone.

Funded by IRIS (Initiative de Recherches Interdisciplinaires et Stratégiques), « Création, cognition, société » (CCS), Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL).

Practical information / Accessibility


Monday 15 October 14h-16h
Salle Séminaire du DEC, 29 rue d’Ulm (you can enter also from 24 rue Lhomond and then follow the directions for Bâtiment Jaurès)
Merel Semeijn (Groningen) 
"Fiction and Common Ground : A Workspace Account"


Because Stalnaker’s common ground framework is focussed on cooperative information exchange, it is challenging to model fictional discourse. To this end, I develop an extension of Stalnaker’s analysis of assertion that is inspired by Matravers’ theory of fiction interpretation. Assertions and fictional statements are modelled as proposals to first update a temporal common ground : The ‘workspace’. At the end of the discourse, ‘assertive’ or ‘fictive closure’ is performed ; The content of the workspace is added to the common ground directly (for assertions) or as ‘parafictional information’ under an “In story Sp”-operator (for fictional statements).

I argue that pronominal anaphora across mixed parafictional/metafictional discourse (e.g. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodoi goes through an immense mental struggle. Heis an intriguing fictional character !) poses a problem for the workspace account and evaluate different possible solutions based on Zalta’s logic of abstract object and Recanati’s dot-object analysis of fictional characters.


Past sessions 

Monday 1 October, 14h-16h
Salle séminaire du DEC, 29 rue d’Ulm 75005 Paris (you can enter also from rue Lhomond and then follow the directions for Bâtiment Jaurès)
Elisa Caldarola (Padua)
"Conceptual Art and Prop Oriented Make-Believe"

Some philosophers have claimed that works of conceptual art are ideas, ontologically speaking (Carroll 1999 ; Matravers 2007 ; Schellekens 2007). Others maintain that works of conceptual art are not ideas, although they enjoy a special relationship with ideas (Cray 2014 ; Dodd 2016). In this talk, I present a proposal that looks deeper into the relationship between certain works of conceptual art and ideas, analysing Michael Craig Martin’s work An Oak Tree (1973) and claiming that such work hints at a certain idea by means of engaging the public in a game of prop oriented make-believe (Walton 1993). I argue that my proposal presents some advantages over alternative views (especially Young 2001) and that it casts light on the relationship between those works of art that are conceptual and those that aren’t.