OMT Graduate Travel Report – James R. Kirkpatrick
The kindness of the Old Members’ Trust has allowed me to present my DPhil research at the 2nd Context, Cognition and Communication conference at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw. While the CCC conference is still in its infancy, it has already gained a reputation for high-quality speakers and, as such, it is an excellent place to receive feedback on my research.
I presented a paper from my DPhil thesis on generic sentences, such as “Birds fly” and “Lions have manes”. These sentences report certain regularities that summarise groups of particular events or facts. However, generics involving phrasal conjunctions, such as “Elephants live in Africa and Asia”, present a prima facie problem to a promising, orthodox approach to generics. While theorists have proposed radical departures from the orthodoxy, I argue that such departures are unwarranted: not only do they not fully accommodate the data involving generics, the phenomenon under question is much broader than just generics. I argue for a unified theory of generic conjunctions that is compatible with the orthodoxy.
I was fortunate enough to have a number of other researchers on generics in the audience of my talk. Consequently, the discussion period was lively and fruitful, and the conversation continued long into the night and over to the following days. The feedback I received at the conference was invaluable and I would not have been able to attend the conference had it not been for the goodwill of the OMT. For this opportunity, I am extremely grateful.
The rest of my time at the conference was spent attending other talks on current edge research in the philosophy of language, mind, and cognitive science. Attending the conference also allowed me to further develop connections with other early-career researchers, and to create the opportunity of possible collaboration.
Thank you again for allowing me this opportunity.
Published: 24 September 2018
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