The Force/Content Distinction

10 June 2021

Colloque Recanati juin 2021

A Scene from "The Beggar’s Opera" VI

Symposium organized by François Recanati, Chair Philosophy of Language and Mind, with the support of the Collège de France Foundation.

June 16, 17 and 18, 2021, Maurice Halbwachs Amphitheatre

Open to the public, within space limits, subject to availability.

In judgment (on the mental side) and assertion (on the linguistic side), the subject assents to a certain content (the content of assertion or judgment); but the content in question can also be entertained in a neutral way, without being accepted or endorsed. That is the basis for Frege’s force/content distinction, a cornerstone in contemporary philosophy of language. That distinction entails that predication itself is a neutral operation, since it is internal to propositional content. Because they reject that consequence and construe predication as the (committal, hence non-neutral) act of ascribing a property to an object, some recent theorists cast doubt on the force/content distinction. Others, on the contrary, attempt to widen its domain of application. This international conference, organized by the Philosophy of language and mind chair at Collège de France, offers a forum for discussion of these issues.

Invited speakers*

Stephen Barker (University of Nottingham)
Silver Bronzo (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
Mitchell Green (University of Connecticut)
Peter Hanks (University of Minnesota)
Eric Mandelbaum (City University of New York)
Peter Pagin (University of Stockholm)
Indrek Reiland (University of Vienna)
Michael Schmitz (University of Vienna)

* The initially scheduled talks by Kathrin Glüer-Pagin and Maria van der Schaar had to be cancelled for Covid-related reasons.