9th Creph Annual Seminar 2015: Phenomenology and Grammar: Laws of Phenomena and Laws of Meaning
University of Liège, 4-8 May 2015
URPh organises its 9th annual research seminar in phenomenology. Its topic
is "Phenomenology and Grammar: Laws of Phenomena and Laws of Meaning".
Following Bernard Bolzano's work on formal analyticity, the raise of phenomenology
is characterised by the attention paid to the structuration of sense through
purely formal principles which make meaning possible. Husserl above all, in
his fourth Logical Investigation, insists on the idea of a pure grammar
which fixes the formal conditions of meaningfulness (as opposed to non-sense)
and which precedes the logical question of consistency (in opposition to countersense).
This grammatical level is ruled by a number of meaning categories (nominal matter,
adjectival matter...) and by the laws guiding their combinations. Those categories
and combinations laws are made obvious thanks to "salva significatione"
tests of substitutability. This idea of a purely grammatical structure of sense
has also been explored by other students of Brentano, including Anton Marty
whose 1884-1896 papers contribute to the debate on the possibility of "subjectless
Yet questions are raised by this formal approach to grammar which prevailed
during the emergence of phenomenology. The main purpose of the seminar is to
investigate the kind of formalism that is at stake at the origin of phenomenology
in order to clarify its historical significance and to test its longevity. First
of all, it intends to question the relevance of this hypothesis of a purely
grammatical legality and the relations it would entertain with:
- The specifically linguistic legality connected to the expression
of these meanings in such or such language or even in language in general.
Do the categories of meaning and the laws of their combinations precede each
- the ontological legality of the objects thought through those meanings.
Do objects impose their structure to the meanings through which they are thought
or, at the contrary, do meanings impose their structure to the objects which
are thought through them?
- The phenomenal legality which specifically rules sense experience
- Additionally: Are grammatical laws purely syntactic, or also semantic?
In addition to these questions, the following
points would also deserve to be examined:
- The history of the concepts of form, syntax and grammar (in Bolzano, Brentano,
Husserl, Marty, Bühler...);
- The critical posterity of Husserl's pure grammar in the phenomenological
tradition (Heidegger, Derrida...);
- The consequence of the attempt to think the structure of significations
and their linguistic and anthropological foundations through a combination
of phenomenological and structuralist analysis (in Merleau-Ponty, Sartre...);
- The posterity of Husserl's pure grammar in logic and linguistic in the XXth
century (in particular in "categorial grammars": Lesniewski, Adjukiewicz,
Bar-Hillel, Montague, Chomsky...);
- The relation between this notion of formal grammar and Wittgenstein's notion
of "philosophical grammar" or Russell's grammatical analysis;
- The potential extending of the idea of grammar (as legality of meanings)
to non verbal expression, for instance to pictures.
The research seminar in phenomenology is an activity of the Belgian National
Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) Doctoral School. Organized over a whole
week, it aims at stimulating collaborative research, open to original contributions
from Belgian and foreign researchers and academics.
- Jocelyn Benoist (Univ. of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
- Laurent Cesalli (Univ. of Geneva)
- Janette Friedrich (Univ. of Geneva)
- Élise Marrou (Archives Husserl de Paris)
- Friederike Moltmann (CNRS, IHPST)
- Dominique Pradelle (Univ. of Paris 4 Sorbonne, Archives Husserl de Paris)
The seminar is free of charge and open to the public without registration.
- » Submission form:
doc [24 Kb] /
txt [1 Kb]
The seminar will take place from May 4 to 8, 2015, at the University of Liège
Registration is not required for attendance. At the participant's request,
the Philosophy Department will issue a certificate which can be used for doctoral
Proposals (title and abstract, maximum 700 words) are invited from senior
researchers as well as graduate students, and must be sent to B. Leclercq (b.Leclercq[at]ulg.ac.be)
and C. Gauvry (c.gauvry[at]ulg.ac.be) by January 15, 2015.
Please use only the electronic submission form (doc [24 Kb] /
txt [1 Kb]). Acceptance
or refusal will be notified by January 15.
The abstracts will be evaluated by the URPh board through a blind-review process.
Acceptance or refusal will be notified by January 30.
The talks will be in English and French. Passive understanding of French is
The Doctoral School does not cover the accommodation and travel costs of the
CFP speakers. Information on accommodation is available.
Bruno Leclercq, Charlotte Gauvry.
c.gauvry[at]ulg.ac.be - b.leclercq[at]ulg.ac.be