Verbal activity involves a massive amount of inferential reconstruction, the results of which are sometimes too nebulous to be paraphrased in propositional, conceptual terms. Language use, both in ordinary conversation and in literary works, generates and conveys 'impressions' of various kinds that cannot be explained in terms of the notion of ‘meaning’, classically construed. This conference aims at exploring these phenomena – the territory beyond meaning, which is pervasive in linguistic (and non-linguistic) interpretation. The conference has a focus on cognitive science and we therefore particularly welcome submissions from scholars in linguistics, pragmatics, philosophy, literary studies, cognitive psychology etc. However, submissions are welcome from researchers working in any relevant field of study.
Conference "Beyond Meaning"
School of Philosophy
GR 157 84 Athens
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Louis de Saussure,
University of Neuchâtel
University of Brighton
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens & New York College Athens
Conference leading house:
University of York
University of Strathclyde
University of Geneva
University College London
Location of the conference:
University historical building
30 Panepistimiou Street
(midway between Syntagma and Omonia squares)
whether in acts of ordinary communication or in works of literature or poetry, involves a massive amount of inferential reconstruction. It is generally presumed that since inference operates over propositions, what is reconstructed is propositional: in Gricean terminology, a speaker ‘meansNN that p’. But this cannot always be the case. Sometimes, what a speaker intends to convey is too nebulous to be paraphrased in propositional, conceptual terms at all – it is ‘descriptively ineffable’. And a good deal of what is conveyed in communicative acts is quite vague. What a hearer is often able to infer is a weakly implicated, or an array of weakly implicated, impressions: aesthetic experience, emotions or attitudes. Sperber and Wilson (2015) point out that linguists, philosophers and pragmatists have tended to focus their attention on cases that congregate in the top left corner of a square formed by a continuum between showing and meaning and another between determinate and indeterminate meaning. The ineffable, vague aspects of communication, despite that fact that they are crucial to our understanding of language use, have largely been ignored.
is to encourage exploration of the territory beyond meaning. How might the descriptive ineffability of expressives, interjections, perspectival interpretations of tenses, intensifiers, figures etc. be accommodated within a more general theory of language use? How might we account for the communication of non-propositional phenomena such as moods, emotions and impressions? Do pauses, creative metaphors, unknown words in L2 and other ‘pointers’ to ‘conceptual regions’ (Carston 2002) communicate concepts? More broadly, what type of cognitive response do these phenomena trigger, if not conceptual-propositional?
will also have a range of implications for our understanding types of language use that pursue aims which are not, strictly speaking, communicative: literature and poetry, for example. It could be argued that poetic and literary theorists have fallen into the same trap as linguists. They have traditionally treated literary texts as objects that are designed to be interpreted through the achievement of effects at a conceptual level. But these objects surely involve different kinds of effect: perceptual, emotional, and perhaps others... Moreover, the answers will have implications for how we understand other types of human activities – such as art at large – which involve the instantiation of effects that go ‘beyond meaning’. To ask of an artwork ‘What does it mean?’ might simply be the wrong question: literature and art are about more than mere conceptualizing. It might even be the wrong question to ask of ordinary conversation.
will bring together scholars from linguistics, cognitive psychology, philosophy/aesthetics and the study of literature and art. We aim to broaden the current machinery and scope of pragmatics and cognitive science and perhaps lead to a reconsideration of the notion of meaning itself.
may include, but are not limited to:
Linguistic descriptive ineffability
Cognition and affect
Literary theorizing of emotions and impressions
Emotions and attitudes in linguistic and non-linguistic representational systems
Emotions and understanding
The showing-meaning distinction
The non-conceptual dimension of figurative meanings
Submissions are invited in English in the following format: one 500 word (max) abstract (excluding references).
Submissions must be uploaded on the Easychair platform exclusively by following this link:
Abstracts submission deadline: April 1st, 2017. CLOSED
Notifications to authors will be sent by June 1st, 2017.
Preliminary programme will be available by June 30th, 2017
Final programme will be available by July 30th, 2017
Registration: Early bird: by July 30th, 2017; Final deadline: August 15th, 2017.
The provisional conference programme is currently being prepared and will be announced around June 10th, 2017; The final programme will be online by July 30th, 2017.
University of York
University of Strathclyde
University of Geneva
University College London
Conference by Petros Markaris the evening before the conference
Welcome lunch buffet (to be confirmed): Wednesday, Sept. 13th
Conference dinner: Thursday, Sept. 14th.
The conference takes place in Athens, the capital city of Greece. The premises of the conference will be in and around Panepistimiou Street and Akadimias, including the historical building of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
On Panepistimiou street just out of Panepistimiou metro station, midway between the city center's main squares (Syntagma and Omonia). Historical quarters (Plaka, Monastiraki) and sights (Acropolis, Acropolis museum, Benaki museum...), are one or two metro stations away, and lively areas are also in the vicinity (Omonia, Athinas street, Psyrry, Gazi, and the area of Exarcheia with its lively student atmosphere.
Metro station: Panepistimiou
Registration and welcome: Historical building.
Travelling to Athens and getting to the center
Most international airlines as well as low-cost companies fly to Athens international Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos".
From the airport, the rate to the city center by taxi is about 40 euros.
The metro takes about 40 minutes to Syntagma square and departs from the airport every 30 minutes.
A budget bus line, number X95, goes to Syntagma square.
Hotel Kimon, in the old quarter of Plaka. Ideal setting, very nice affordable hotel of medium category. This is our favourite. Rooms are from 50 (single) to 88 (suite) euros.
Parthenon Hotel, higher category hotel conveniently located near the Acropolis. Parthenon hotel offers a special 12% discount for the conference participants. Send an email to email@example.com mentioning that you are writing to book at Parthenon Hotel (they have several hotels) with discount code CORPACC (only valid for the conference's dates).
Hotel Electra on Ermou street, a 4-star hotel excellently located on the edge of Syntagma central square. Hotel Electra offers special prices (single 120€ /night, double 140€/night) for the participants. Mention "Beyond Meaning Conference" when contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org with the precision that you are booking at ELECTRA ERMOU (they have other hotels with the name Electra).
Titania Hotel is a beautiful 4-star hotel located near the conference premises, between the University old building and the lively and popular Omonia Square and still at about 15 minutes walk from Syntagma.
Central Hotel Plaka is a beautiful hotel perfectly located between Syntagma and Plaka.
Cypria Hotel is a 4-star hotel ideally located near Ermou and Syntagma.
Athens university historical building in Athens centre
Elly Ifantidou, Department of English language and literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Louis de Saussure, Institute of Language and communication sciences & Cognitive science centre, University of Neuchatel.
Tim Wharton, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton.
Patricia Kolaiti, Department of English language and literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens & New York College Athens.
Local members (Athens): Agapi Xifara, Phoebe Dimoula (English department, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens).
Other members: Katie McCallum, University of Brighton; Thierry Raeber, University of Brighton & University of Neuchâtel; Misha Müller, University of Neuchâtel.
Nicholas Allott, University of Oslo
Miranda Anderson, University of Edinburgh
Sylvain Briens, Université La Sorbonne, Paris
Andrew Caink, University of Westminster
Siobhan Chapman, University of Liverpool
Paul Chilton, University of Lancaster
Billy Clark, Middlesex University London
Julien Deonna, University of Geneva
Alan Durant, Middlesex University London
Victoria Escandell-Vidal, UNED Madrid
Laurent Gosselin, University of Rouen
Anna Hatzidaki, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Didier Maillat, University of Fribourg
Sophia Marmaridou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Tomoko Matsui, Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Tokyo
Kiki Nikiforidou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Manuel Padilla Cruz, University of Seville
Anna Papafragou, University of Delaware
Jesus Romero Trillo, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Liana Sakelliou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Kate Scott, Kingston University
Fabrice Teroni, University of Geneva
John Wrighton, University of Brighton
Francisco Yus, University of Alicante
Sandrine Zufferey, University of Berne
Registration extended till August 30, 2017
Normal: 130 Euros
Student: 85 Euros
Students with financial difficulties please contact organisers. BA and MA students can attend the talks freely but won't receive a conference package nor attend the coffee breaks.
Conference dinner: 40 Euros payable on site at the registration desk. Please bring the exact amount! Thank you.
Proceed with the payment, which must be done by international bank transfer.
banking information for registration payments:
Name of bank:
Alpha Bank AE Athens, 40 Stadiou Street, Athens, Greece
Special account for research grant
Panepistimioupoli Zographou, 157 84 Athens
IBAN GR03 0140 8020 8020 0200 1000 227
SWIFT / BIC CRBAGRAA
ATTENTION: The payment must bear your first and last name and must mention the code of the conference: 13807
Without these indications the payment can not be processed. Please also make sure you cover any fee your bank may charge for the transfer.
Once your bank transfer is completed, please send the receipt / proof of payment as an attached PDF document to an email in which you provide the following information: full name, type of registration (early / late; normal / student) to the conference's central email address:
A confirmation of registration will be sent to you in the following days.
Queries and questions should be directed to: