Appel: Semantics Beyond Set Theory, deadline Sept 1, 2007

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at LIPN.UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Fri Aug 24 08:57:33 UTC 2007

Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 13:17:17 +0200
From: David NICOLAS <dnicolas at>
Message-Id: <20070823111649.BCB0688B88 at>

Semantics In Paris 2 (SIP2): Semantics Beyond Set Theory
October 25-26, 2007, Paris, France

Call for papers

Since its creation by Cantor 130 years ago, set theory has come to
play the role of a lingua franca, both in mathematics and in
disciplines that make a strong use of mathematical tools, such as
natural language semantics.

   While helpful in order to understand a great variety of phenomena,
set theory also has certain limitations. Two of them have important
consequences for the analysis of natural language.

   First, the elements of a set must not be too many, on pain of
paradox. Model theory based on standard set theory is therefore unable
to offer a faithful picture of quantification over absolutely
everything there is, as in sentences like "Everything is
self-identical". This limitation also shows up with plurals:
apparently meaningful sentences like "There are some sets such that a
set is one of them just in case it is not a member of itself" cannot
be adequately represented using sets. Second, by its very nature, set
theory is extensional. As such it is ill equipped to deal with
intensional phenomena.

   These limitations of set theory surface in a variety of domains,
among others and non-exhaustively:

- Expressions of togetherness: some advances beyond classical
  mereology have lead to reconsidering the adequacy of set theoretic
  notions; for instance, some theoreticians have claimed that
  expressions of collectivity require the notion of groups as qua

- Expressions of genericity require for their analysis new, non
  set-theoretic tools, in particular in order to handle exceptions and
  higher order entities.

- Finally, since events cannot be identified to temporal traces, the
  analysis of temporal expressions and aspect is likely to go beyond
  the use of set-theoretic notions.  Propositions of communication may
  be submitted on all aspects of natural language for which set theory
  proves its limitations. Works showing the fruitfulness of
  alternative frameworks (e.g.  category theory, linear logic, plural
  logic) for the analysis of natural language semantics are welcome.

Submission conditions

Abstracts must be anonymous. They should be 2 pages long including
references, examples and figures. They should have a 1 inch margin on
all four sides and use at least a 12 points font.  Files may be in
plain text, PDF, RTF or MS Word.  Names and affiliations should be
indicated in the body of the message. Proposals should be sent at at no later than September 1, 2007. Contact at for information, or consult the conference

Invited speakers
Alain Lecomte (University of Paris 8)
Øystein Linnebo (University of Bristol)
Peter Simons (University of Leeds)

This conference is supported by the GDR Semantics & Modelisation

Organizing committee:
Alda Mari (IJN, CNRS)
David Nicolas (IJN, CNRS)

Scientific committee:
Claire Beyssade (IJN, CNRS)
Denis Bonnay (DEC, ENS)
Paul Egre (IJN, CNRS)
Brendan Gillon (Linguistics, McGill University)
Alain Lecomte (SFL, Paris 8)
Alda Mari (IJN, CNRS)
David Nicolas (IJN, CNRS)
Christian Retore (LaBRI, Bordeaux 1)
Gabriel Sandu (IHPST, CNRS)

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