Wolfram Hinzen

Universitat Pompeu Fabra & FIDMAG Hermanas Hospitalarias


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 Autonoma de Barcelona (2011).

Research interests

Language is specific to our species, as is our type of mind. How do the two relate? I pursue this question by studying disorders of language in the context of mental disorders. When cognition changes, language often changes as well, and decline in one domain can illuinate decline in the other. I have inaugurated the ‘Un-Cartesian hypothesis’, which suggests that the evolution of language is also the evolution of a particular cognitive type, and that thinking and language effectively coincide. This research program is documented in my monographs ‘Mind Design’ (2006), ‘An 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 ‘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 lab (www.grammar.cat), which pursues the project of a typology of linguistic diversity across clinical populations.

Selected publications

– Zimmerer V, Watson S, Turkington D, Ferrier N & Hinzen W 2017, ‘Deictic and propositional meaning – new perspectives on language in schizophrenia‘. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 8, 17.

– Rossello J, Mattos O & Hinzen W 2017, ‘Towards true integration‘, Behavioral And Brain Sciences, 40, e70.

Hinzen W 2017, ‘Reference Across Pathologies: A New Linguistic Lens on Disorders of Thought. Target article with responses and a reply’. Theoretical Linguistics, 43, 3-4, 169 – 232.

Hinzen W 2017, ‘What language is. Reply to commentators‘, Theoretical Linguistics, 43, 3-4, 297 – 317.

Selected research activities

-Organizer of a cycle of 4 international workshops in CosmoCaixa, Barcelona, on language and the brain, called The Language Cycle. Co-organized with Jaume Bertranpetit. October 2017.

-Organizer, Symposium on Language in schizophrenia, British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Newcastle University, UK, September 2017

-Primary supervisor, 7 PhD students: Kristen Schroeder, FPI (UB), Gabriel Sevilla (UPF), Dominika Slusna (UPF), Elisabet Vila (UB), Will Jones (Durham University), Antonia Tovar, FI (UPF), Miriam Garcia (UB)

-Recent keynotes: International Biolinguistics Conference, Beijing, China, December 2017.