Wolfram Hinzen

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) & FIDMAG Hermanas Hospitalarias (FIDMAG)


I obtained a Magister (Freiburg, 1993), an MA (King's College London, 1994), and a PhD (philosophy, Bern, 1996), prior to becoming a Swiss government funded postdoctoral researcher in Stuttgart (1996-7) and New York (1997-9). I was first employed in an academic position as Assistant Professor in Regensburg (1999), then at the Universitat van Amsterdam (2003-2006), before becoming a full professor in Durham (2006-) and an ICREA Research Professor in Barcelona in April 2013. I also was a guest professor at Hong Kong University (2010) and at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2011).

Research interests

Language is specific to our species, as is our mind. How do the two relate? I pursue this question philosophically, linguistically, and experimentally, by studying disorders of language in the context of mental disorders. I have inaugurated the ‘Un-Cartesian hypothesis’, which is that the evolution of language is also the evolution of a particular cognitive type. This research program is documented in ‘Mind Design’ (2006), ‘Essay on Names and Truth’ (2007), and ‘The Philosophy of Universal Grammar’ (2013, with M. Sheehan), all from Oxford UP. I have directed three international projects (NWO, 2006-2011; AHRC/DFG, 2009-2012) and currently ‘Language and Mental Health’ (AHRC, 2014-2017), dedicated to the comparative study of language disorder in schizophrenia and aphasia. Locally in Barcelona, I have founded the Grammar & Cognition group (www.grammar.cat), which pursues the project of a typology of linguistic diversity across clinical populations.

Selected publications

Hinzen W 2016, ‘Linguistic evidence against Predicativism’, Philosophy Compass, 1–18.

Hinzen W 2016, ‘On the grammar of referential dependence’, Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, 46 (59), 11-33.

Hinzen W & Reichard U 2016, ‘Are verbs names of events?’, in Stalmaszczyk P (ed.), Philosophical and linguistic analyses of reference, (Studies in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics, vol.2), Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp.43-65.

Hinzen W, Rossello J & McKenna P 2016, ‘Can delusions be understood linguistically?’, Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 21, 4, 281 – 299.

Hinzen W 2016, ‘Is our mental grammar just a set of constructions? Commentary on Evans 2014’, Language, 92, 1, 203 – 207.

Selected research activities

Selected invited talks:

-University of Massachusetts, Linguistics Department, Amherst, USA.

-Smith College, Psychology Department, Northampton, USA.

-Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium, USA.

-Temple University, Philosophy Department, USA.

-Central European University Budapest, BabyLab, Hungary.

-University of Leeds, Conference on The Nature of Representation, Leeds, UK.

PhD student supervision (first supervisor):

-Gabriel Sevilla (UPF), First vs. third person narrative in ASD.

-Antonia Tovar (UPF): Grammar and theory of mind in Huntington’s disease.

-Will Jones (Durham University): Processing of grammar and personal pronouns schizophrenia.

-Kristen Schroeder (UB): Reference and deixis in autism.