Genericity: Interpretation and Uses II

Dispositions, Abilities and States

ENS Paris - June, 24th-25, 2010

Call for Papers

Submission Deadline: April 1st


The workshop aims to gather linguists and philosophers around the notions of abilities dispositions and states as central aspects of genericity. It will be articulated around the following thematic areas.
(A) It will consider the distinction between different types of states, readdressing the distinction between individual level and stage level predicates in lights of recent criticism that has been leveled against it. A closely related issue that will be discussed is whether one should posit a Davidsonian argument for verb predicates across the board (no matter what the actional type of the predicate) or rather for eventive predicates only.
(B) The issue of different types of abilities will be discussed. In particular, the workshop will consider (among others):
         - the question whether one should distinguish between general abilities and action-dependent, short-lived abilities and occasions;  and how this distinction is grounded in the lexicon and in the syntax
         - the questions whether abilities and dispositions are one and the same notion or whether only one of these requires instantiations
(C) A topic closely related to (B) that will be explored is the relationship between abilities and structural aspect (imperfective vs. perfective): how aspectual distinctions relate to ontological distinctions between types of abilities, and to the issue whether actual instantiations are required.
(D) The workshop will discuss the relation between abilities and modal expressions like be able to. It will address the question of the relation between the abilitative interpretation of modality and the deontic and epistemic interpretations. 
(E) Finally, the workshop will explore how abilities and dispositions surface in predicative positions (especially in languages which have bare nouns in this position or allow bare PPs).
The non exhaustive list of topic is :
- types of states (ilp / slp)
- Davidsonian arguments
- types of abilities (general abilities / action-dependent abilities)
- abilities and modality
- circumstantial modality and epistemic modality
- abilities and aspect (imperfect, present perfect)

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