Philosophy of Language

Derek A. Leben, Philosophy of Language, Fall 2018

Course Description

Philosophers have been interested in language for two reasons. First, it has always been a mystery how strings of sounds or marks on paper get such important properties like “being about things” and “having a meaning.” Second, it might be the case that finding out what we mean by certain words and claims can help clarify or even eliminate some apparent philosophical problems. We will consider four approaches to how sounds, gestures, and markings become meaningful: (1) Standing as a model or representation of states of affairs in the world, (2) Having a causal connection to physical environments, (3) Being a part of goal-directed social practices, or (4) Being a part of a specific kind of psychological system.

Required Texts:

Philosophy of Language (2nd Ed.), by William Lycan
Words and Rules, by Steven Pinker
The Stuff of Thought, by Steven Pinker

Syllabus: 

Derek A. Leben, Philosophy of Language, Fall 2014

Course Description

Discussion of various philosophical views of language and the relevance of the study of language to philosophical problems.

Required Texts:

-The Philosophy of Language edited by A.P. Martinich
-Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction by William G. Lycan

Derek A. Leben, Philosophy of Language, Spring 2011

Course Description

Discussion of various philosophical views of language and the relevance of the study of language to philosophical problems.

Required Texts:

-The Philosophy of Language

Syllabus: 
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