Philosophy of Language

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language—that is, the study of representation, meaning, truth, communication, and the relationships between them. In the past century, the philosophy of language has been one of the most influential branches of philosophy, both in terms of its influence on philosophy more generally and its influence on other disciplines. Within philosophy, it has shaped the terms of debate in virtually every other subfield. Outside philosophy, it has provided insight into human cognition and social interactions. This course will survey a series of classic topics while providing students with a toolbox of concepts and techniques common to the discipline.

Work for the class consists in weekly problem sets and a take-home final exam (details on the syllabus). Most readings for the class are drawn from the textbook you can find below. Materials for the course are password protected due to copyright concerns. The user name and password can be found on copies of the syllabus that I handed out on the first day of class, or on Blackboard. Failing that, contact me if you are having trouble.



Textbook/Lecture Notes

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language

Many of the readings for classes, as you can see on the syllabus, are drawn from this textbook. The book is basically an organized series of lecture notes with some additional accompanying material. My lectures in class will closely follow the chapters of the book. Consequently you should make use of the book in whatever way enhances your ability to pick up the material from class. You could, for example, either read the assignments before class (especially if you find you usually have questions about the material), or you could read it after class as you find it necessary to refresh yourself on the lecture material. It's up to you.



Problem Sets/Review Sheet


You're responsible for knowing what plagiarism is. Any evidence of academic dishonesty will be relentlessly pursued. Confirmation of dishonesty results in an "F" for the course.


If you have a disability that requires special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications, you need to notify both your TA and the Disability Resources and Services no later than the 2nd week of the term. You may be asked to provide documentation of your disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To notify Disability Resources and Services, call 648-7890 (Voice or TTD) to schedule an appointment. The Office is located in 140 William Pitt Union.