Eric Pederson

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2012/2013
discipline Linguistics
Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Linguistics Department and the American English Institute, University of Oregon

Research project

Putative Universals in Linguistically-expressed Propositional Logic

 

Much philosophical and formal semantics work has been conducted on natural language and its relationship to formal logic. However, remarkably little work has actually investigated the expression of logical operators across a variety of human languages. This project ties together the disciplines of linguistic typology and semantics with the underpinnings of formal logic. There are two principal goals: (i) to begin developing a typology of logical operators in natural language and (ii) ultimately to explore the implications of linguistic variation for potential cross-cultural differences in reasoning.

This project focuses on the most basic of logical operators: the truth-functional connectives of propositional logic as manifested in natural language. Such a project is necessarily quite grand and beyond the scope of any one researcher. Accordingly, the project seeks collaboration and consultation with experts and speakers of numerous languages with the immediate goal to bring two related questions to greater scholarly attention:(i) What are the universal, possible, and impossible logical connectives in language? How do these connectives relate to the truth-functional connectives of standard formal logic?
(ii) What implications might such logical connectives have for claims about innate, universal, and culturally-acquired “mental logic”?

The principal focus this year is on the semantics of alternation, or logical disjunction “or”.

Biography

 

Eric Pederson is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Linguistics Department and the American English Institute, University of Oregon. His previous academic appointment (1991-1997) was at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. 

 

His areas of specialization are language and cognition / psycholinguistics, semantics / pragmatics, typological and cross-cultural linguistics, and Dravidian linguistics.

Selected publications

 

‘The expression of space across languages’, in K. von Heusinger, C. Maienborn and P. Portner (eds), Semantics. An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning, vol.3, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2012. 

 

‘On representing events’, with J. Bohnemeyer, in J. Bohnemeyer and E. Pederson (eds), Event Representations in Language and Cognition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011.

 

‘Linguistic and non-linguistic categorization of complex motion events’, with J. Loucks, in J. Bohnemeyer and E. Pederson (eds), Event Representations in Language and Cognition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011.

 

‘Orienting attention during phonetic training facilitates learning’, with S. G. Guion-Anderson, Journal of the Acoustic Society of America, vol.127, no.2, 2010, pp.1-6.

 

‘Linguistic Relativity’, in B. Heine and H. Narrog (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010, pp.733-752.

 

‘Event Realization in Tamil’, in P. Brown and M. Bowerman (eds), Crosslinguistic perspectives on argument structure: Implications for learnability, Lawrence Erlbaum, New York, 2007, pp.331-355.

 

‘Tamil spatial language’, in S. Levinson and D. Wilkins (eds), The grammars of space, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006, pp.400-436.

 

‘Mirror-image discrimination among nonliterate, monoliterate, and biliterate Tamil speakers’, Written Language and Literacy, vol.6, no.1, 2003, pp.71-91.

institut

junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline History
2011
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline History
2013
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline Literature
2012
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
discipline History
2016