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

Spring 2018

  • ECOM member Jenelle Salisbury and two first-year Philosophy grad students have formed the UConn-sciousness Club , which will be meeting this semester on Tues mornings [from 10AM-11AM in Homer Babbidge Library Video Theater room 1]. If you’d like to get on the Club’s listserv, contact
  • ECOM has launched its Spring speaker series with two talks by Joshua Knobe (Yale) on Jan 26. Please check our events page for additional talks and workshop.
  • ECOM members Bar-On and Ochs have a forthcoming joint paper “The Role of Inner Speech in Self-Knowledge: Against Neo-Rylean Views”, to appear in Teorema.

With contributed papers by:

  • ECOM hosted a talk by Josh Armstrong (Philosophy, UCLA) on May 4, 4-5:30PM in the UCHI Conference Room (Babbidge 4/209), titled “The Evolution of Non-natural Meaning”.
  • ECOM hosted a talk by Jacob Beck (Philosophy, York) on March 2, 4-5:30PM in the UCHI Conference Room (Babbidge 4/209), titled “Chrysippus’ Dog Reconsidered: On the Detection of Logical Reasoning in Nonhuman Animals”.

Fall 2017

  • ECOM will host a talk by Katherine McAuliffe (Psychology, Boston College) on December 8, 4-5:30PM in the UCHI Conference Room (Babbidge 4/209), titled “The Origins of our Sense of Fairness”. Click here for more information and an abstract.
  • The ECOM Reading Group is meeting this semester on Fridays 11:00AM-12:15PM in Manchester Hall 227. We will meet on 9/29, 10/20, 11/17 and 12/8. Please contact Nathan Kellen for readings and more information.
  • Events of interest: BOLD Brownbags, 9-10AM in BOUS 162. See especially talks by Ross Buck on 9/20 on emotional and cognitive empathy, and ECOM member Charles Davis on 10/25 on memory/episodic contexts and abstract/concrete concepts.
  • ECOM Director Dorit Bar-On will participate in a roundtable at the Inaugural Cultural Evolution conference in Jena, Germany on September 13-15, alongside Kim Sterelny, Dan Sperber, Celia Heyes and others.
  • ECOM member Jenelle Salisbury will present her paper “First Person Authority and Immunity to Error in the Craniopagus Case” at the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Conference on “The Self” in October. Congrats Jenelle!
  • ECOM member Ryo Tanaka will present his paper “Content Externalism, Neo-Expressivism, and Inter-Personal Mental Ascription” at the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Conference on “The Self” in October. Congrats Ryo!
  • ECOM Director Dorit Bar-On will be the keynote speaker at the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Conference on “The Self” in October.

Summer 2017

  • ECOM Director Dorit Bar-On has a new book manuscript under contract with Oxford University Press: Expression, Communication, and Origins of Meaning.
  • ECOM Director Dorit Bar-On led a three-day masterclass on her work at the Spanish Society for Analytic Philosophy in Madrid, in June.
  • ECOM member Letitia Naigles has a new book out: Naigles, L. R. (Ed.) (2017) Innovative Investigations of Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder.  NY: APA Books/Walter deGruyter.
  • Grazer Philosophische Studien will publish a volume on themes from the work of ECOM member Mitch Green, entitled ‘From Signaling and Expression to Conversation and Fiction’, featuring 10 authors.
  • ECOM member Mitch Green has a new book coming out with Routledge titled Know Thyself: The Value and Limits of Self-Knoweldge, as well as 14 new articles from 2016-17.
  • ECOM member Jared Henderson has a new paper out: “Deflating the Determination Argument” (Thought, forthcoming). He also gave two talks at the Ohio State University and the Society for Exact Philosophy.
  • Former ECOM student member (and now affiliate member) Kevin Richardson is now Assistant Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University. Congratulations Kevin!
  • Former ECOM student member Russell Richie defended his dissertation and took a postdoctoral research position at University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations Russell!

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

  • ECOM hosted a talk by Ulrich Stegmann (Philosophy, Aberdeen) on December 12, 4PM: “Animal Signals, Acquisition Conditions and the Explanation of Behavior”. Click herefor more information and an abstract.
  • ECOM hosted its 3rd UConn workshop on December 2-3, titled What’s in a Word? The workshop explored the theoretical status of words in connection with issues such as the contrast between words and mere labels, or between one-word sentences and fully compositional sentences; words as expressive of concepts; and words as potential points of entry into language (both in the context of human language acquisition and in the context of trying to teach language to nonhuman animals).Invited speakers included: Elika Bergelson (Psychology, Duke), Laurence R. Horn (Linguistics, Yale), William G. Lycan (Philosophy, UConn), Ruth Millikan (Philosophy, UConn), Letitia Naigles (Psychology, UConn) and Irene Pepperberg (Harvard).

    Visit the workshop webpage by clicking here to find titles and abstracts.

  • ECOM hosted a reading group on Berwick and Chomsky’s Why Only Us: Language and Evolution.
  • ECOM director Dorit Bar-On represented ECOM at the first Seven Hills Workshop on Mind, Metaphysics, and Ethics, held at College of Holy Cross, Saturday November 5.