Summer school on Theories of Communication in Riga (July 2012)

There will be an International Summer School at the University of Latvia, Riga, 8-18 July 2012, on the theme: Theories of Communication. What linguistic knowledge and interpretive mechanisms are required to explain the phenomena of inferential communication? Should we favour an explanation rooted in Relevance Theory? And what insight can a pragmatic approach give us into the evolution of human communication? These and other questions will be the focus of the 2012 edition of the International Summer School in Cognitive Sciences and Semantics. Among the topics explored will be the following: (i) information structure, (ii) temporal reference, (iii) indirect speech acts, (iv) non-literal uses of language, in particular, metaphor and related tropes, including hyperbole, simile, sarcasm and irony, (v) hinting, (vi) the nature of word meaning, (vii) cooperation and antagonism in conversation, (viii) slurs, and (ix) the idea of a dynamic lexicon.

Invited organizers: Ernie Lepore (Rutgers University, US) & Dan Sperber (Central European University, Budapest, H, & CNRS, Paris, FR). Faculty: Elisabeth Camp (University of Pennsylvania, US), Robyn Carston (University College London, UK), Ivona Kucerova (McMaster University, Canada), Ernie Lepore (Rutgers University, US), Peter Ludlow (Northwestern University, US), Dan Sperber (Central European University, Budapest, H, & CNRS, Paris, FR), Matthew Stone (Rutgers University, US), Deirdre Wilson (University College London, UK).






The summer institute is co-organized by the Center for Cognitive Sciences and Semantics at the University of Latvia and the Department of Philosophy at McMaster University. It will consist of 1 course of 45 hours, which is equivalent to 1 course of 3 credits. It will comprise 9 days of full time academic activities:

All enrolled participants will receive the following preparatory material in May:

a) a detailed schedule with a description of each lecture

b) a full course packet with complementary articles for each lecture.

c) a full description of the evaluation procedure and recommended preparatory work.

Students who register will automatically be enrolled in the course “TOPICS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, LANGUAGE AND COGNITION” offered by the Center for Cognitive Sciences and Semantics of the University of Latvia. Students enrolled will receive the equivalent of 3 credit units (45 contact hours) as part of the joint curriculum. Credits will be transferred from the University of Latvia toward a graduate course (either PhD or MA) according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Supervision and evaluation

Each student will be paired with a member of the faculty who will be responsible for the supervision of the student’s study work during the entire summer school (one-one meetings by appointment) as well as for their evaluation. The relevant information concerning the pairing will be sent with the course packet.

Admission requirements

1) being registered in or post-graduate program in philosophy or other connected discipline. Exceptionally, advanced undergraduate students will be entitled to enroll.


2) holding a graduate or post-graduate degree in philosophy or other connected discipline OR

3) working as a post-doctoral student or professional in this field.

Registration: enrollment forms are available at the following address:

Selection procedure

Students will be selected on the basis of 1) their prior acquaintance with the topic; 2) their overall academic merit. They will be required to provide a cv as well as a statement of purpose (see registration form).

Tuition fees

Registration fees include:

1) Participation in all academic activities and credit transfer, accommodation, meals and course packet (to be sent in advance)

Tuition fees are lower for students who register prior to 15 April 2011. The following amounts are given in Latvian Lats :

Before 15 April

Graduate students and Postdoctoral researchers 500 LVL

Professionals: 750 LVL

After 15 April

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers 600 LVL

Professionals: 850 LVL

Partial scholarships may be available in limited numbers on the basis of need and academic merit.


The payment may be made by bank transfer to the University of Latvia. Information will be made available to those whose application will be successful.


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