Project Abstract

The aim of this three-year project is to revisit fundamental assumptions philosophers and linguists have made in trying to understand meaning and communication, in the light of the recent and widespread uptake of online and digital information and communication technology (ICT). The motivating hypothesis is that attention to ICT media reveals that central theoretical notions (e.g. communicative intentions, contexts of use and mutual knowledge) may need to be significantly reconceived or replaced.

The project is divided into three parts, focusing on the implications of ICT for three different areas of theorizing about language: semantics (what are the meanings of linguistic expressions?); metasemantics (what constitutes these meanings?); and pragmatics (what do speakers use linguistic expressions to do, and how?). The four project researchers specialize in philosophy and linguistics, and collaborators include specialists in computer and information science, cognitive science and global affairs.

The importance of the research is to reorient and refresh traditional debates within the philosophy of language by highlighting the relevance of technology-driven changes in the structure of human communication. This will increase engagement with the philosophical side of ICT-related problems in academic and policy research discussions and potentially, in the longer term, serve as a basis for helping regulators, companies and the public to think more clearly about such problems.

About the Project




The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)