PHIL 118
Meaning, Communication and Society Fall 2022 (also offered Spring 2023)
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

The primary way we interact with others is through the use of language. We use language to communicate meanings in order to accomplish a variety of goals: to convey information, make requests, establish rules, utilize power, issue protests, and much more. We coordinate our lives through sounds from mouths, signs from hands, and squiggles on paper because somehow sounds, signs, and squiggles have meanings. This course is an investigation into how language is used to express meaning, and how such expression can have real interpersonal and societal impact. Using resources from philosophy and linguistics, we will study various ways in which literal and non-literal uses of language influence our social lives. Of particular interest will be how language can be used to establish, reinforce, and resist power relationships involving race and gender.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1956
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Weekly short papers (500-1000 words), take-home midterm paper (5-6 pages), take-home final paper (7-8) pages, with comments on writing given on short papers and midterm
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Preference given to first year students and philosophy majors.
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: There will be short writing assignments that will receive comments on content, writing style, and argument structure every week except when midterm/final papers are due. The midterm/final papers will incorporate revisions from previous short papers.
DPE Notes: This course has a focus on the role of language in relationships involving power, oppression, and group inclusion between individuals belonging to various socio-political identities.
Attributes: Linguistics

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