Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Call for papers 'MK40: Common Knowledge, Common Ground, and Context in Communication'

25 November 2019

Submission deadline: 1 March 2020. Workshop date: 18-19 June 2020, UCL.

image of brain with letters marked on, language and meaning

While several related, but distinct, lines of research have found it necessary to develop or apply concepts like mutual knowledge there has always existed a rich debate about the nature of these concepts, their actual functions in communication and relations among them. From the very outset, there has been scepticism about the centrality of a specifically epistemic or doxastic notion of common knowledge in meaning and communication. In particular, Grice (1982) resists the idea that common or mutual belief is conceptually necessary for meaning. Related work problematizes these notions from the perspective that they require ideal reasoners (Sperber & Wilson, 1990) or that the putative situational bases for common knowledge (public information) described in Lewis and Clark in fact lead common knowledge (Halpern & Moses, 1990; Lederman, 2018). Other work debates the primacy of shared attention and common knowledge. Some suggest the former is the foundational relation (Campbell, 2005; Peacocke, 2005), while others argue for the opposite (Gilbert, 2007). In related lines of inquiry, literature has discussed the possibility of non-mentalistic or non-individualistic replacements of common ground or common knowledge (Breheny, 2006; Geurts, 2019; Kern & Moll, 2017). In recent psycholinguistic work, questions have been raised about whether common knowledge of discourse relevant facts (common ground) is in fact maintained by interlocutors (Horton & Gerrig, 2005) and whether it is in fact common ground that is inferred in language processing or simply interlocutors’ perspectives (Heller & Brown-Schmidt, in prep). View the full abstract on the workshop webpage.

Organisers: Richard Breheny (UCL), Uli Sauerland (ZAS Berlin). The event is co-sponsored by XPrag.de, Mind & Language and the Mind Association.

Time and venue: 18-19 June at UCL. See event listing

Invited speakers: Malinda Carpenter (St Andrews), Herbert H Clark (Stanford), Bart Geurts (U. of Nijmegen), Daphna Heller (U. of Toronto), Harvey Lederman (Princeton), Henrike Moll (USC), Mandy Simons (CMU), Dan Sperber (CEU) and Deirdre Wilson (UCL)

Call for submissions: We welcome abstracts for 30 minutes talks (20 + 10 discussion) or posters which address issues relevant to the workshop’s theme. Abstracts should be no longer than 2 A4 pages, with a 12 pt font and 2.5 cm/1 inch margins. The abstracts must be anonymous and not identify the authors. Authors may submit at most two abstracts, at most one of which may be single-authored. Please submit via EasyChair by 1 March 2020 at the latest.