Francois Recanati


François Recanati

Research Fellow
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)


Imagination and the Self
Thursday, March 28, 2018 at 7:00pm
Kislak Center
Otto G. Richter Library, 1300 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Free & Open to the Public‌  |  Registration Required


In this talk, François Recanati explores the relationship between imagination and the self. Mental states such as perception and memory are “reflexive states,” in the sense that they intimately involve an experience of the subject herself. To remember my sixteenth birthday, for example, is to remember myself as doing certain things and witnessing certain events. Imagination, as well, seems to be reflexive and self-involving, at least when it comes to subjective imagination, that is imagining things "from the inside." To imagine eating an apple, for example, is to imagine myself eating an apple. However, a careful examination of the ways in which the imagining subject is and is not involved in his or her imaginings leads to the surprising conclusion that, in some cases of subjective imagination, the self is not involved at all. This might seem paradoxical at first. But the sense of paradox can be alleviated by looking at the role that mental simulation plays in our exercise of the imagination.

“[Recanati's Literal Meaning] is extremely valuable for the important issues it raises with respect to the architecture of linguistic theory, for its clear and intelligent discussion of them, for its thorough comparison of some of the most influential contemporary approaches to meaning, and not least for the further reflections it may inspire in the reader.”
— Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen, Journal of Pragmatics

François Recanati is a Research Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. In addition, he is a "directeur d’études" at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), and the Director of a research lab in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science hosted by Ecole Normale Supérieure. His numerous publications in the philosophy of language and mind include Meaning and Force(1987), Direct Reference: From Language to Thought (1993), Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta (2000), Literal Meaning (2004), Perspectival Thought (2007), Philosophie du langage (et de l’esprit) (2008), Truth-Conditional Pragmatics (2010) and Mental Files (2012). He is a co-founder and past President of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy, and was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. In 2014 he was awarded the CNRS Silver Medal and was made a honorary doctor of the University of Stockholm.


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Lunch Seminar

Speech Acts 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 12:30pm

Learning Commons Flexible Program Space,
First Floor, Richter Library
For UM Faculty & Graduate Students
(Lunch will be provided)

Registration Required

‌‌In this seminar, Professor Recanati will discuss J. L. Austin’s ideas, starting from a widely noted ambiguity in his notion of an illocutionary act. There are, Recanati will argue, two types of act which are best construed as two aspects of one and the same reality — one aspect that is social or institutional and one that is more narrowly linguistic or communicative. After discussing the relations between the two types of act, he will introduce a third type of act that is also part of Austin’s theoretical framework: the so-called locutionary act, which is even more narrowly linguistic. Recanati will present a hierarchical conception according to which the concept of social or institutional act (illocutionary act in the strong sense) is the basic notion, and the communicative act (illocutionary act in the weak sense) is defined in terms of it. He will argue that, similarly, the locutionary act needs to be defined in terms of the communicative act.