4th Conference of the American Pragmatics Association

Keynote Speakers


Betty Birner (Northern Illinois University, USA)

Dr. Betty Birner is Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science in the Department of English at Northern Illinois University. She received her BA from Hope College, Holland, Michigan in 1982 and her PhD in Linguistics from Northwestern University in 1992. After that she held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. She joined NIU in 2000 and served as Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department from 2007-2012. Her professional interests and expertise range from Linguistic Pragmatics, Discourse, and Reference to the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface.

Her major and most recent publications include:

  • (forthcoming). Language and Meaning. Abingdon: Routledge. In press.
  • With Ward, G. and Kaiser, E. (2017). Pragmatics and Information Structure. In Huang, Y. ed., The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 567-590.
  • (2013). Introduction to Pragmatics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • With Ward, G. (2011). Discourse Effects of Word Order Variation. In Heusinger, K., Maienborn, C. and Portner, P. eds., Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Berlin/Boston: Mouton de Gruyter, 2, 1934-1963.
  • With Ward, G. (2009). Information Structure and Syntactic Structure. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3, 1167-1187.
  • (2009). Noncanonical Word Order and the Distribution of Inferrable Information in English. In Shaer, B., Cook, P. and Frey, W. eds. Dislocation: Syntactic, Semantic, and Discourse Perspectives. Routledge, 12, 232-254.
  • With Kaplan, J. and Ward, G. (2007). Functional Compositionality and the Interaction of Discourse Constraints. Language, 83(2), 317-343.
  • With Ward, G., eds. (2006). Drawing the Boundaries of Meaning: Neo-Gricean Studies in Pragmatics and Semantics in Honor of Laurence R. Horn. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.



Ira Noveck (Institut des Sciences Cognitives – Marc Jeannerod, Paris, France)

Ira Noveck is a Senior Scientist at the Institut des Sciences Cognitives-Marc Jeannerod in Lyon, an independent research center that operates under the auspices of the CNRS (Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), where he has been working since 1999. Noveck received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Binghamton in 1984 and then continued his work at NYU, where he received his Master’s and PhD in Experimental Psychology, with a focus on human reasoning. Before obtaining his current position at the CNRS, he had post-docs in Paris (Université de Paris 8), Minneapolis (U. of Minnesota), and Montreal (UQAM), a research position in Paris at the CREA, Ecole Polytechnique, the forerunner of today’s Institut Jean Nicod, as well as an assistant professorship at the Université de Grenoble.

Through his investigations into the psychology of reasoning, it became clear to him that linguistic approaches, and specifically those offered by semantics and pragmatics, were indispensable for better understanding a participant’s performance. This led to a research program in the mid- to late-1990’s called Experimental Pragmatics that was developed in collaboration with Dan Sperber.

Although he continues to focus on inference-making related to logical terms, he also investigates pragmatics more generally, with research interests extending to figurative and conventional language. He recently finished (writing) a book, Experimental Pragmatics: The making of a cognitive science (Cambridge University Press), that is due to come out in 2018.

Some of his recent publications include:
Prado, J., Spotorno, N., Koun, E., Hewitt, E., Van der Henst, J.B., Sperber, D., & Noveck, I.A. (2015). Neural interaction between logical reasoning and pragmatic processing in narrative discourse. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
Grossman, E. & Noveck, I. A. (2015). What can historical linguistics and experimental pragmatics offer each other? Linguistics Vanguard.
Spotorno, N. & Noveck, I. A. (2014). When is irony effortful? JEP: General, 143(4), 1649-1665.
Krönmuller, E., Morisseau, T. & Noveck, I. A. (2014). Show me the pragmatic contribution: A developmental investigation of referential communication. Journal of Child Language, 41(5), 985-1014.



Jason Stanley (Yale University, USA)

Jason Stanley is Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He has also held professorships at the University of Michigan (2000-4) and Cornell University (1995-2000).

He earned his PhD in 1995 from the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (under Robert Stalnaker, chair), and received his BA in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1990.

Professor Stanley has published four monographs and over thirty-eight papers: His book Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005, Oxford University Press) was the winner of the 2007 American Philosophical Association book prize. Professor Stanley’s book Language in Context (2007, Oxford University Press) is a collection of papers in semantics published between 2000 and 2007 on the topic of linguistic communication and context. Professor Stanley’s How Propaganda Works (2015, Princeton University Press) was the winner of the 2016 PROSE award for the subject area of philosophy. In 2015, Professor Stanley received an Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Binghamton University.

His most recent publications include:

  • With Williamson, T. (forthcoming). Skill, Nous.
  • (2017). The Emergency Manager: Strategic Racism, Technocracy, and the Poisoning of Flint’s Children. The Good Society, 25(1), 1-45.
  • (2016). Is Epistemology Tainted? Disputatio-International Journal of Philosophy, 8, 1-35.
  • With Justice, B. (2016). Teaching in the Time of Trump. Social Education, 80(1), 36-41.
  • (2016). On a Case for Truth‐Relativism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 92(1), 179-188.
  • (2015). Knowledge, habit, practice, skill. Journal of Philosophical Research, 40 (Supplement), 315-323.