Conference: SPE 9

Semantics and Philosophy in Europe – SPE 9

Padua, 4-6 September 2017
University of Padua

Conference website:

The purpose of the Semantics and Philosophy in Europe (SPE) colloquia is to provide a forum for presenting research in the interface between linguistic semantics and various areas of philosophy (philosophy of language, philosophy of mind/cognition, metaphysics etc.).

This year’s Semantics and Philosophy in Europe Colloquium focuses on ontology and consists in two special sessions only:

Ontology in the past was considered mainly a pursuit of philosophers, asking questions about being in most general terms. While some philosophers made appeal to natural language in order to argue for an ontological category or notion, others have rejected such an appeal arguing that the ontology reflected in language diverges significantly from what there really is, from any philosophically accepted ontology. Whatever one’s view may be of what a philosopher should pursue, it has become clear, especially with the development of natural language semantics, that the ontology of natural language is an important object of study in itself, as the subject matter of Natural Language Ontology. In addition, ontology is now also being studied with respect to other areas of cognition, as Applied Ontology.

This year’s SPE consists in two special sessions preceded by a one-day tutorial.

Special session 1: Applied Ontology and Natural Language Ontology


Differently from pure metaphysics, applied ontology, as conceived today, can’t ignore the role of language and cognition. Indeed, as long as its goal is to make explicit (by means of computer-readable conceptual models) people?s assumptions about reality, applied ontology is an intrisically interdisciplinary area of research, which involves philosophy, linguistics and cognitive science, as well as computer science. We welcome therefore talks concerning the ontological grounds of cognition and natural language semantics; the impact of linguistic analysis on conceptual modeling; the role of lexical resources and NLP for ontology engineering; and the role of formal ontology for natural language understanding, image understanding, and the development of lexical resources and NLP tools.

Invited Speakers (more TBA):

Scientific Committee:

Massimiliano Carrara (Padua), Ciro de Florio (Milan), Nicola Guarino (Trento), Giorgio Lando (L’Aquila), Vittorio Morato (Padua), Elisa Paganini (Milan), Peter Simons (Dublin), Amie Thomasson (Miami), Paolo Valore (Milan)

Special Session 2: Ontology and Generative Grammar


Not only semantics bears on the ontology of natural language. There also more direct connections to syntax (within the generative tradition). Various categories and elements that syntacticians have posited appear to reflect ontological notions, such as existence, ontological dependence, parthood, causation (or more generally grounding), plurality and unity, as well as ontological categories (events, facts, tropes, qualities etc). Moreover, within generative linguistics the question arises whether and in what way language bears a relation to objects. As has often been pointed out, a great range of objects can be the semantic values of ‘referential’ NPs in natural language that most philosophers and even nonphilosophers, upon reflection, may be unwilling to accept. But does this mean referential NPs in natural language could only be investigated with respect to a lexical-conceptual structure deployed on an occasion of reference and thus with respect to another level of syntax, as Chomsky has argued, or can one make sense in another way of a rich ontology of what we appear to conceive of as objects of reference, at least when using natural language?

Invited Speakers:

Scientific Committee:

Guglielmo Cinque (Venice), John Collins (East Anglia), Giuliana Giusti (Venice), Heidi Harley (Arizona), Wolfram Hinzen (ICREA, Barcelona), Richard Kayne (NYU), Friederike Moltmann (CNRS, New York)

Tutorial: Natural Language Ontology and Applied Ontology

Call for Papers

We invite abstract submissions for 30-minute talks on the topic of either session. Abstracts should contain original research that, at the time of submission, has neither been published nor accepted for publication. One person can submit at most one abstract as sole author and one abstract as co-author (or two co-authored abstracts).

Abstracts must be anonymous, in PDF format, 2 pages (A4 or letter), in a font size no less than 12pt. Please submit abstracts no later than May 31, 2017, indicating whether it is for Session 1 or 2. Note that no abstracts may be submitted simultaneously to SPE9 and the immediately following conference The Language of Ontology, September 8-10 in Dublin. Abstracts should be submitted via Easychair


Abstract Submission: May 31, 2017
Notification of Acceptance: June 30, 2017
Colloquium: September 4-6 2017
For any inquiries, please contact: