2014 Fall Semester Theme: Language

Language pervades human life, significantly affecting art, emotions, family, politics, scholarship, and social institutions. Language is also multifaceted and the object of diverse disciplines, including the humanities, the social sciences, the physical sciences, and the fine arts. The goal of this semester’s Clarke Forum theme is to strive for a synoptic view of language that crosses disciplines. In seeking to understand language, we shall pursue three main questions: (1) How do we acquire/develop language? (2) Are humans the only organisms that have language? (3) How is language related to thought? We will consider these questions systematically and in depth, from both a theoretical and an applied point of view, bringing together a wide range of interests in the Dickinson community.

Events Related to Theme:

Thursday, October 9, 2014
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Do Non-Linguistic Creatures Have a Language of Thought?
Susan Carey, professor, Harvard University

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Communicative Intentions and Origins of Meaning
Dorit Bar-On, professor, University of Connecticut

Thursday, November 6, 2014
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Why Language Matters for Theory of Mind
Janet Astington, professor emerita, University of Toronto

Thursday, November 20, 2014
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Linguistic Relativism: Language, Culture, and Thought
John Baugh, professor, Washington University