Friederike Moltmann » Teaching » New course starting October 3: Natural Language Ontology
New course starting October 3: Natural Language Ontology

Date: October 03, 2022

Université Côte d'Azur, BCL

Philosophy of Language: Natural Language Ontology


Time: Mondays 16h-18h (starting October 3, 2022)

In hybrid format:

Room 128, Campus St Angely, 25 ave Mitterand, bâtiment de l'horologe, Nice

Please contact me for the ZOOM link: fmoltmann@unice.fr


Handout 1 : Ontology, Semantics, and Syntax (October 3)

Handout 2 : Reference and Predication (October 10)

Handout 3 : Quantification and Special Quantification (October 17)

Handout 4: Implicit Arguments and Event Semantics (October 24)

Handout 5: Parameters of Evaluation (November 7)

Handout 6: Nonexistents? (November 14)


Course Description

Ontology as part of philosophy concerns itself with the most general notions of being. Natural language ontology, which is part of both linguistics and philosophy, has as its subject matter the ontology that is implicit in natural language. That is, it concerns itself with the kinds of entities that play a role in the meaning of sentences, with the ontological categories that are reflected in the structure of language, notions such part and whole, existence, time and space, the abstract-concrete distinction. This course will give a general introduction to natural language ontology, and will deal in particular with the following topics:

-     The role of ontology for both semantics and syntax

-     The various ways in which entities play a role in the meaning of sentences

-     Chomsky’s arguments that natural language does not involve reference to entities at all and ways of responding to the various cases Chomsky put forward.

-      The way ontological categories are reflected in syntax and semantics

-      Event semantics and its limits

-     The ontological core-periphery distinction

The course will start October 3 and will be given in hybrid format in English on Mondays (16-18h). The course is suited for advanced undergraduates and graduate students as well anyone interested in the topic, External auditors very welcome, but they need to register formally as auditors at the Université Côte d'Azur (details of how to do that soon!).

 An additional hour (18h-19h) will be reserved for in-person discussions of the material, possibly in French.

Recommended reading:

‘Natural Language Ontology’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, fall 2022 edition, Natural Language Ontology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)