Second Conference on Concept Types and Frames

in Language, Cognition, and Science


International Conference
Düsseldorf (GER),  August 24-26, 2009
Organization: http://www.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/fff/fff-conference-ctf09/organisation/
General Chair: Sebastian Löbner


The topic of the conference is the investigation of concept types of nouns and verbs and their respective relationships to frames. Frames provide a recursive device for representing knowledge about arbitrary objects and categories by means of attributes and their values. They offer a flexible way of representing concepts of different types in language, philosophy and sciences at different levels of detail and at different stages of development or processing. The interdisciplinary conference combines approaches from linguistics, computational linguistics, mathematics, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, philosophy of science, and the history of science.

Invited speakers: Barbara Abbott, Lawrence W. Barsalou, Jerry Hobbs, Beth Levin, James Pustejovsky, Barry Smith, Paul Thagard.


Deadline for submission of abstracts (max. 1000 words including figures): April 15th 2009


The conference will be held in English.

Linguistic perspectives

Nouns in natural language correspond to different basic types of concepts. Sortal nouns (e.g. cow, table, adjective) constitute the unmarked type of nouns; individual nouns (e.g. Mary, pope, moon) and functional nouns (e.g. mother, head, size) are marked in being inherently unique; relational nouns (e.g. son, leg, modifier) and functional nouns are marked by involving one or more additional arguments. The linguistic perspective on noun types includes determination in general and productive type shifts, as both permit systematic transitions between types of nouns. The types of nouns can be modelled by frames of different structure. A second focus is on verbs: dimensional verbs such as cost, last, widen, and cool can incorporate functional concepts as well. Moreover, verbs also lend themselves naturally to a frame account of lexical meaning. A systematic frame analysis of verb and noun meanings promises a substantial contribution to theories of both syntactic and semantic composition. Among the different concept types, functional concepts are of particular interest since they directly correspond to attributes in frames. Therefore, they play a central role not only in linguistics but in conceptual and theoretical evolution in general.

Philosophical and cognitive perspectives

Frames, in Barsalou's sense, are recursive attribute-value structures. While frames can be used to implement individual and sortal concepts, their attributes can themselves be analysed as recursively interrelated functional concepts. Given that frames are the basic format of concept formation in cognition, attributes and frames might have neural correlates in our brains. Frames are a natural linguistic and conceptual format for the representation of complex ontologies that embody substance-accidence and part-whole relations. Of particular interest is the relation of frames to complex representational formats such as conceptual spaces and mental models. Functional concepts and frames play a crucial role in the human evolution of a stable cognitive framework for communication and cooperation, in everyday life, as well as in science. Insofar as the objects of scientific disciplines are defined in terms of underlying frames, Kuhnian paradigm shifts are related to changes in the frames employed in science.

The conference invites contributions to the following topics:

Types of nouns and types of determination

  • typological characteristics of non-sortal noun types
  • compositional properties of non-sortal noun types
  • typological accounts of determination, in particular definiteness and possession
  • historical development of functional and relational nouns and their grammatical integration
  • automatic classification of noun types in natural language corpora

The vocabulary of dimensions: semantics, typology, and evolution

  • abstract functional nouns (price, temperature, meaning)
  • dimensional adjectives
  • stative dimensional verbs (cost, weigh, mean)
  • dynamic dimensional verbs, in particular degree achievements

Lexical decomposition using frames

  • frames for types of nouns
  • frames for types of verbs
  • large frame systems in the lexicon

Frames approaches to word formation

  • frame analysis of compounds
  • frame analysis of deverbal nouns

Frames in cognition

  • functional and relational frames in cognition
  • neural correlates and computational modelling of functional concepts and frames

Frames in science and philosophy

  • functional concepts and frames in scientific theory and practice from a historical perspective, in particular in the history of medical science
  • functional and relational concepts and frames in philosophical terminology, ontology, and metaphysics
  • the relation of paradigm shifts to changes in scientific frames
  • the structure of scientific ontologies, especially in medicine, biology, and metaphysics

Frame theory

  • formalization and computational modelling of functional and relational concepts and frames
  • algebraic properties of frame spaces and spaces of attributes
  • value spaces of attributes