<OT> CfP: Workshop on "Optimality Theory as a General Cognitive Architecture"
Fri Apr 22 09:37:52 PDT 2011
Optimality Theory as a General Cognitive Architecture
Workshop held at the 33rd annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
July 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts
Tamas Biro (t . s . biro @ uva . nl)
Judit Gervain (judit . gervain @ parisdescartes . fr)
Call for Participation and Call for Posters:
Harmony Theory (Smolensky, 1986), introduced exactly 25 years ago, became
one of the most popular current approaches to linguistics in the form of
Optimality Theory (OT, Prince and Smolensky 1993). While most people in
the OT camp focus on particular linguistic problems, the underlying
motivations of the theory warrant a constant connection between OT and the
(computational) cognitive sciences. The aim of this workshop is to discuss
the place of Optimality Theory (and related approaches: Harmony Grammar
and the ICS Architecture) within the cognitive sciences at large.
In "The Harmonic Mind" (2006), Smolensky and Legendre repeatedly allude to
the possibility of applying their ICS Architecture to a broad spectrum of
domains in (higher) cognition, while maintaining the connection between
higher (abstract) level description and lower (neural) level processing.
At the same time, some scholars have already adopted Optimality Theory to
specific, non-linguistic phenomena, including culture and ethical decision
making. Thirdly, experimental and computational OT research often tackle
issues that fit nicely into the cognitive psychological tradition, thereby
building new bridges between linguistics and other cognitive domains.
Yet, it is sad to see the lack of opportunities for scholars working on OT
as a general cognitive architecture to share their ideas. Even less
collaboration is going on between the OT-camp and those employing utility
function-based models in computational biology, psychology or economics.
Therefore, the workshop offers a meeting point to those applying OT to
non-linguistic domains, as well as an opportunity to discuss the place of
OT, HG and ICS within the cognitive sciences.
The half-day-long workshop consists of a key-note address by Paul
Smolensky, as well as by papers delivered by Petra Hendriks, Lotte
Hogeweg, Geraldine Legendre and Giorgio Magri. Additionally, the workshop
will also feature a poster session.
We thus seek posters describing new results and addressing, primarily,
though not exclusively, the following issues:
* Optimality Theory and Harmony Grammar as general frameworks of
* OT/HG-style analyses of phenomena belonging to (primarily,
non-linguistic) domains that have not yet employed OT.
* The connection of linguistic OT/HG to the study of other (higher)
* OT compared to HG, from theoretical-mathematical and
* OT/HG-style formalisms compared to utility function-based approaches
from a mathematical-computational perspective; their place in explaining
* Relating connectionist and symbolic approaches: the ICS Architecture
and its eventual alternatives.
* Ontogenetic aspects of OT/HG approaches (learnability).
* Phylogenetic aspects of OT/HG approaches (including historical
change, evolutionary models, etc.).
1-page-long abstracts are solicited by May 20, to be sent to Tamas Biro (t
. s . biro @ uva . nl). Notification of acceptance is due by May 31.
Further information, including a longer description of the workshop is
getting gradually available on the website of the workshop:
And a final (informal) note:
One of the aims of the workshop is to gauge ongoing work and eventual
interest in using OT beyond linguistics, either in other domains, or as a
general cognitive architecture. Therefore, if you cannot join us in Boston
for whatever reason, but you are nevertheless interested in contributing
to the theme of the workshop, for instance in the form of a paper in an
eventual volume coming out of the meeting, then you are still extremely
welcome to contact us.
More information about the ling-optimal-L