The theoretical groundwork for the project was completed during the first two years. This resulted in three articles: one which has been published at a top journal (Cohnitz & Haukioja, "Meta-Externalism and Meta-Internalism in the Study of Reference, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 2013), and two others which are forthcoming, also in top (level 2) journals: Cohnitz & Haukioja, "Intuitions in Philosophical Semantics", Erkenntnis, and Haukioja: "On Deriving Essentialism from the Theory of Reference", Philosophical Studies. More theoretical work that draws on these results is currently under way.
The empirical part of the project is also under way, although there have been delays. Much progress has been made on how the experiments will be conducted - the experimental work itself will be started in the near future.
This project, "Words in Worlds", is a part of the larger ESF-funded project "Communication in Context: Shared Understanding in a Complex World".
The project investigates the nature and preconditions of successful communicative behavior, with focus on two levels: words and discourses. The issues will be approached both from a theoretical and from an empirical viewpoint.
On the level of words, the theoretical objective of the project will be to reach a better understanding of when two agents can use a wor d successfully in their mutual communication. The leading idea here is to investigate what kinds of differences between human subjects' categorization dispositions put successful communication at risk. The empirical segment of the project, on the other h and, will conduct experimental work on such differences in the categorization dispositions of humans. The empirical work will be informed by the theoretical work, and vice versa.
On the level of discourses, the focus will be on the pragmatics of speech a cts, in particular the acts of assertion and of asking questions. This part of the project will look at how context - social relations in particular - affects the appropriateness of speech acts. This part of the project, too, will combine both theoretical and empirical research.