The Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI) 2019

Please read on about this funded summer opportunity for graduate students, postdocs, and early career faculty. (Please note that ECOM Director is among DISI’s international faculty this summer!)

DISI aims to bring together promising graduate students, postdocs, and early career faculty interested in the study of mind, cognition, and intelligence for several weeks of transdisciplinary exploration. The first year was a great success, and we are delighted to be expanding the scope of DISI in 2019! We are increasing the number of participants, welcoming back alumni, and broadening the topics offered by faculty. We are also introducing a new “storytellers” track to host artists-in-residence at DISI. We hope that this vibrant community will work together to develop new ways of engaging with big questions about intelligence, cognition, and the mind.

You can find more details about the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI for short), as well as a short video, at

We are holding the 2019 Summer Institute at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, from June 30 to July 20. As you know, this is a beautiful seaside location, easily accessible from Edinburgh International Airport, and a picturesque train journey North from London. We’ve already assembled an outstanding international faculty (, and more are yet to be added. In addition to lectures and discussions, DISI offers participants the opportunity to develop collaborative interdisciplinary research projects with support from faculty and staff.

Please forward this announcement to talented graduate students, postdocs, and other early career researchers who might be interested. We are also hoping to reach writers and artists of all types for our storyteller track! In both the academic and storyteller tracks, we are looking for creative, open-minded participants who want to take intellectual risks and break down disciplinary barriers in the spirit of dialogue and discovery.

The main application deadline is February 15. Storyteller and alumni applications will be rolling. Application portals can be found at

For questions, please contact Associate Director, Dr. Kensy Cooperrider, at


Spring Workshop Update

Our Spring Workshop “Communication, Context, Conversation” will take place May 3-4, 2019 on the UConn Storrs Campus. We now have all our confirmed speakers, as well as invited discussants.

Our confirmed speakers are Anne Bezuidenhout, Robyn Carston, Danielle Matthews,  Federico Rossano, Mandy Simons, as well as Dorit Bar-On, Mitch Green, and Ruth Millikan.

Our invited discussants are: Mark Jary, Stefan Kaufmann, Bill Lycan, Zoltan Szabo, Craige Roberts, and Catherine Wearing.

A CFP has been posted at Phil Events (and elsewhere), with abstracts due Feb 1st. Check our events page (under Workshops) for details and updates!

Spring 2019

ECOM Director Dorit Bar-On will be presenting a joint paper with St. Andrews Evolutionary Psychologist Kate Arnold entitled “How To Do Things With Nonwords: Communication, Expression, and Meaning” at the workshop “Linguistic Investigations Beyond Language: Gestures, Body Movement and Primate Linguistics” at ZAS in Berlin, March 11-12, 2019. 

ECOM summer graduate fellowship

We are introducing an ECOM Summer Graduate Research Fellowship, to support UConn graduate students working on ECOM-related topics (with preference given to collaborative cross-disciplinary projects). Applications are due by April 1st, 2019 (with decisions announced by April 15th). Information available upon request.

(Please note: this opportunity is only open to students who have become ECOM members before January 20, 2019.)

ECOM will hold a Meet & Greet event (with refreshments) on February 8, 2019 4-5:30 pm (at the UCHI seminar room, Babbidge Library, 4th floor). We will have a discussion of this summer fellowship opportunity during that event.

Please let Dorit Bar-On or Teresa Allen know if you have any q’s.

Some upcoming member talks/invitations

ECOM member Drew Johnson has been invited to be a student visitor this summer at the prestigious Arché Philosophical Research Centre at the University of St. Andrews. Congratulations Drew!

ECOM director Bar-On has been invited to be a guest at the Research Project on Psychological Expressivism at the University of Mannheim in summer 2019. Earlier in the summer, Bar-On will be giving a series of invited lectures on Origins of Meaning at the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI), University of St.Andrews. This Summer Institute should be of interest to Cog Sci, Linguistics, and Philosophy grad students.

ECOM director Bar-On will give an invited talk at an international conference “Thought, Action and Communication in Animals” in Zurich in September 2019. Other invited speakers include Michael Tomasello, Klaus Zuberbuhler, Kristin Andrews, Colin Allen, and Robert Lurz. ECOM members are encouraged to submit papers to this conference

Bar-On’s paper “Crude Meaning, Brute Thought (or What Are They Thinking?!)” — versions of which were presented at the UConn Cog Sci Colloquium and last month at an international conference in Antwerp, Belgium — is now forthcoming (Journal for the History of Analytic Philosophy). 

ECOM welcomes:

As of January 2019, ECOM will have a new Coordinator, Aliyar Ozercan, and Teresa Allen will be a Research Specialist working on ECOM development/special projects. Welcome to both!! For q’s about the Spring events, please contact them as appropriate (beginning in January). In the meantime, feel free to contact Dorit Bar-On with any ECOM-related q’s.

Speakers Spring 2019

ECOM will host Prof. Cameron Buckner of the University of Houston on Feb 15, 4 pm (UCHI seminar room). He will be giving a philosophy/cognitive science talk entitled “Rational inference in nonhuman animals (including those without cortex)”.

ECOM will host Prof. Peter Langland-Hassan (Cincinnati), April 9, 2019, 4:30-6 (UCHI seminar room). He will be giving a philosophy/cognitive science talk entitled “Explaining Imagination”. On Monday April 8, 3:30-5 (Arjuna 307), he will be giving a talk on inner speech and psychological disorders to the Language and Cognition Brownbag.

ECOM 2019 Spring Workshop

ECOM will host its 6th annual workshop at UConn, titled “Communication, Context, Conversation”on May 3-4 (MCHU/Laurel 305). The workshop will bring together researchers working on the pragmatics, linguistic analysis, and comparative and developmental psychology of communication and conversation. Confirmed invited speakers: Robyn Carston (UCL), Danielle Matthews (Sheffield), Anne Bezuidenhout (U of SC), Mandy Simons (CMU), Federico Rossano (UCSD). Also on the program: Ruth Millikan, Mitch Green, and Dorit Bar-On. A CFP is now posted on PhilEvents

Fall 2018

  • Dorit Bar-On and Drew Johnson’s “Epistemological Disjunctivism: Perception, Expression, and Self-Knowledge” is now forthcoming in Epistemological Disjunctivism (Doyle and Pritchard, eds.)
  • We are pleased to announce that Prof. Jill de Villiers will be giving a talk to ECOM and affiliate groups on Dec 7, 4 pm (Laurel 206)
    Are concepts always before language?

    Abstract: I have been pursuing ideas about how language helps us think, a position compatible with Chomsky’s position that the major function of language in the species is a cognitive one. Although it is fairly obvious that language helps us scaffold long chains of reasoning – and writing does this even more – is there something more fundamental that language gives us? Is it just words, and therefore symbols, that do this, or does syntax have a role to play? I briefly review evidence from child development that the acquisition of language –any language- may change the way children think, considering work in domains of sortals, number, space, and causation. On the basis of my own empirical work with infants and children, and with adults in situations that interfere with their use of the language faculty, I suggest that syntax may provide us with fundamental new ways of encoding events, and therefore new kinds of concepts.
  • Dorit Bar-On will be a keynote speaker at the next Meetings of the Society for Exact Philosophy at York University in May 2019.
  • Dorit Bar-On and Drew Johnson presented their co-authored paper “Epistemological Disjunctivism: Perception, Expression, and Self-Knowledge” to the Arche Language & Mind Group, at the University of St. Andrews, October 23rd.
  • Dorit Bar-On presented a talk titled “Protolanguage: Meaning, Structure, Expression” on October 25 to the Linguistics Circle at the University of Edinburgh.
  • ECOM member Drew Johnson’s paper “”Hinge Epistemology, Radical Skepticism, and Domain Specific Skepticism” has been accepted for publication by the International Journal for the Study of Skepticism” .
  • ECOM member Jared Henderson has given talks at the Society for Exact Philosophy, May 2018, will speaking at the APA Central, 2019.
  • ECOM member Drew Johnson presented a paper titled “Lies and Hypocrisy: Speech Acts in Ethical Thought and Discourse” at the Fall 2018 meeting of the Alabama Philosophical Society, September 28-29.
  • ECOM member Ryo Tanaka presented a paper titled “Semantic Knowledge as Expressive Know-How” at the Fourth Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia at National Chengchi University (Taiwan), August 9, 2018.
  • The New England Psychological Association will hold its annual meeting November 9th and 10th, 2018 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Marcel Adam Just (Carnegie Mellon University). Dr. Just’s talk is entitled “Neural signatures of thoughts:Breaking the brain’s neural code for representing concepts”..
  • ECOM will host an informal lunch with Professor Paul Boghossian (Philosophy, NYU) on Friday, September 28 at 12pm. If you are interested in attending this lunch to speak with Professor Boghossian about his work, please send an email to the Interim-Director at Professor Boghossian will also be joining Lynne Tirrell’s Toxic Speech Graduate Seminar on Thursday, September 27. If you are interested in attending the seminar, please email Lynne Tirrell at
  • ECOM will host a talk by Whit Tabor (Psychology, UConn) on October 12 at 10am in the Homer Babbidge Library Class of 1947 Room.
  • ECOM will host a talk by Daniel Weiss (Psychology, Penn State) on November 6 at 5pm in the UCHI Conference Room (Babbidge 4/209).
  • ECOM member Mitch Green gave talks on speech acts and on the evolution of meaning in Poland and Germany.

Summer 2018

  • ECOM completed a successful year, with 4 guest speakers, and a productive workshop in April.
  • ECOM members are giving several talks at events at UConn this month. Jenelle Salisbury will give a talk titled “The unity of consciousness and the first-person perspective” at the IBACS Meet and Speak. Jordan Ochs will be giving a talk titled “Knowledgebility of Inner Speech Episodes” at the meeting of the Society for Exact Philosophy (SEP). And later this month, ECOM members Dorit Bar-On and Jordan Ochs will be presenting a co-authored paper on inner speech and self-knowledge at two international conferences to be held at Stirling and Edinburgh. This paper is a sequel to a paper that appeared in February in the international journal Teorema.
  • ECOM members Jordan Ochs and Drew Johnson  have received ECOM summer fellowships to work on ECOM-related projects.
  • ECOM will host a summer reading group on Ruth Millikan’s latest book: Beyond Concepts: Unicepts, Language, and Natural Information. 
  • ECOM director, Dorit Bar-On won a UCHI fellowship next year to write a book titled Expression, Communication, and Origins of Meaning (under contract with OUP). The book will represent the culmination of a decade of ECOM-related research that has benefited from many ECOM events, discussions, reading groups, and professional encounters.
  • As we make plans for next year, ECOM welcomes suggestions for speakers to invite, reading groups to hold, or mini-workshops to host. Please send specific suggestions to Jordan Ochs