The Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind

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A summer course in linguistics and philosophy in Norway

Tuesday 31st July (9 am) – Friday 10th August (1 pm), 2018
University of Oslo, Blindern campus; Seminar room 1 (‘Undervisningsrom 1’), Sophus Bugges building


David Adger (Queen Mary)
Nicholas Allott (University of Oslo)
Rosa Cao (Stanford University)
Ingrid Lossius Falkum (University of Oslo)
Randy Gallistel (Rutgers University)
Carsten Hansen (University of Oslo)
Terje Lohndal (NTNU, Trondheim, & UiT The Arctic University of Norway)
Ira Noveck (CNRS/Institut des sciences cognitives - Marc Jeannerod)
Liina Pylkkanen (New York University)
Georges Rey (University of Maryland at College Park)
Deirdre Wilson (UCL)

Theme for the institute in 2018: Cognition, representation and the mind/brain

Work in cognitive science and linguistics relies on the idea that the mind/brain performs computations over representations. This year we focus specifically on the relation of proposed computations regarding syntax and the pragmatics of utterance intepretation to experimental and neurological research, addressing especially issues of memory and economy. This will raise more general issues of what constraints computational and neurological theories place on each other, as well as whether there a single notion of representation employed in such computational accounts of, e.g. navigation and vision, where there’s often an independent external reality, and grammar and language, where there may not be one. The lectures are correspondingly divided into three different strands: syntax and the brain, theoretical and experimental pragmatics, and foundational questions about computational/representation theories of cognition.

The teaching

Note that lectures start at 9.30am on Tuesday 31st July and finish at 1pm on Friday 10th August.
We will post a timetable here nearer the time of the summer institute.

Classes are from Tuesday – Saturday and then Monday – Friday. There will be a 1 1/2 day break on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

The first day will have introductory lectures to get everyone up to speed with the relevant parts of linguistics, philosophy and psychology.

For the rest of the course, days will include 90 minute classes on each of the three "strands" (see below). Teaching will be discursive, with plenty of time for questions and answers in each class.

There will also be two round-table discussion sessions, where we will discuss issues across the strands, guided by student questions.

Diploma of attendance and ECTS credits.

Students who want can get ECTS credits for participation: either 5 or 10 credits.

Requirements for a diploma of attendance: Requirements for 5 ECTS: Requirements for 10 ECTS:

Lecture strands

Syntax and the brain

Invited Lecturers: David Adger (Queen Mary) and Liina Pylkkanen (New York University

Lecturer/convenor: Terje Lohndal

Topics to include: syntactic representations and neuroscience, brain areas involved in representing syntactic structure, computational vs. algorithmic vs. implementational approaches to syntax, the role of memory and economy considerations in syntactic theory

Pragmatics: Theory and experiment

Invited Lecturers: Ira Noveck (CNRS) and Deirdre Wilson (UCL), plus Ingrid Lossius Falkum (University of Oslo)

Lecturer/convenor: Nicholas Allott

Topic: the current state-of-the-art in theoretical and experimental pragmatics, including: how hearers bridge the gap between linguistic meaning and utterance content; the kinds of neurological measures used in recent experimental pragmatics; the role of effort factors in utterance interpretation; and lexical pragmatics and figurative speech.

Foundational questions about computational/representation theories of cognition

Invited Lecturers: Rosa Cao (Stanford) and Randy Gallistel (Rutgers)

Lecturer/convenors: Carsten Hansen and Georges Rey

Topics to include: What constraints does computational cognitive science place on neuroscience and what constraints does neuroscience place on computational models? What sort of general architecture is plausible for the brain: classical, connectionist, map-like, analog? In what sense do the computational states employ representations? Is there a single notion of representation that covers e.g. navigation, vision, where there’s often an independent external reality, and grammar and language (where there seems not to be one)?

Lecture schedule

To be announced. Watch this space.