Upcoming Paris Workshop, 6/17/19: “Animal Linguistics: Take the Leap!”

The study of non-human communication took off in the 1980’s following the foundational work of Seyfarth and Cheney. Since then, by comparing human language to non-human systems, biologists have explored what makes human language unique, when human language evolved from animal communicative systems, and whether the origin of language is gestural or vocal. However, after 40 years of intense research on many taxa, the communication capacities of non-human animals remain little understood, and so does the origin of human language. One of the main obstacles appears to be a lack of consensus on analytic methods. To address this issue, a field of animal linguistics is emerging, with the aim of studying animal communicative systems as formal systems, using general methods borrowed from linguistics.

This workshop aims to bring together leading linguists and biologists, all pioneers in the field of animal linguistics, in order to provide insights on how to combine linguistic and biological approaches to the study of animal communication. We will cover several fields of linguistics, from formal to quantitative approaches, and to apply their methods to a diversity of taxa, such as birds and primates. In addition, the workshop will consider both gestural and vocal communication.

The panel of speakers will consist of Stuart Semple (University of Roehampton), Marion Laporte (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Sabrina Engesser (University of Zurich), Kirsty Graham (University of York) and Thom Scott-Phillips (Central European University).

Attendees will have the opportunity to present their research during a poster session that will be
held after the lunch break.

Submission deadline for poster: June 1st 2019 (250-word abstract to be sent to melissa.berthet.ac@gmail.com)

M. Botero Publishes Paper Given @ ECOM’s `18 Emotions/Expressions CONF

Maria Botero, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Sam Houston State Universtiy, published a paper in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology in 2018. A version of this paper, titled “Bringing Touch Back to the Study of Emotions in Human and Non-Human Primates: A Theoretical Exploration,” was presented at ECOM’s 2018 Conference on Emotions and Expressions. More information about this paper can be found here.

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 www.diverseintelligencessummer.com.

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 (www.diverseintelligencessummer.com/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 www.diverseintelligencessummer.com/apply

For questions, please contact Associate Director, Dr. Kensy Cooperrider, at disi@ucla.edu.


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.