PHIL 304
Philosophy of Language Fall 2015 Division II; Writing-Intensive;
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This will be a course in the philosophy of language at it has developed over the past century and a half in the analytic tradition. We will narrow our focus even further and will concentrate primarily on meaning, reference and truth. What sorts of things can be true or false? We ordinarily claim that sentences are true or false, but are there other entities whose truth and falsity explains the truth and falsity of sentences? If there are such things–we’ll call them propositions–what are they like? If there aren’t such things, how do we characterize meaningfulness instead? What is it for a sentence or a proposition to be true? We think that there is a difference between a linguistic object’s being meaningful and its having a referent. For example, many people would agree that ‘Keith’s favorite unicorn’ is a meaningful expression. However, few (haters gonna hate) would say that the expression has a referent. It is difficult, however, to get clear on the relation between the meaning of an expression and its reference. We’ll try to make some progress on these issues. Our study will definitely include Frege, Russell, Quine, Searle, and Kripke. There will be a series of short response papers in which you provide a careful analysis of particular arguments in our texts. There will also be a midterm paper (roughly 10 pages) and a final paper (roughly 15 pages) which you will develop and revise in consultation with the instructor. It will be very helpful, though not absolutely necessary, for you to have some familiarity with logic and some experience in reading philosophy.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 10
Class#: 1936
Requirements/Evaluation: short response papers, midterm paper (10pp), final paper (15pp)
Prerequisites: previous philosophy course and familiarity with logic suggested
Enrollment Preference: Philosophy majors
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive;
Attributes: PHIL Contemp Metaphysics & Epistemology Courses;

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