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Level 5

5AANB011 Philosophy of Language

THIS MODULE IS RUNNING IN 2018-19

Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Dr Thomas Hodgson
Assessment: 

  • Summative assessment: 1 x 2-hour examination (100%) 
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks.
Pre-requisites: None

In the wake of the logical revolution at the end of the 19th century, many philosophers well-versed in formal logic turned their attention to the project of understanding natural language.  This course will examine how these philosophers attempted to make sense of natural language using the tools of modern logic, and how this project of understanding natural language on the basis of formal languages developed over the course of the 20th century, particularly in response to recalcitrant data like metaphors, slurs, and sarcasm.

This module will acquaint students with many classic texts in philosophy of language as well as with some more recent work.  By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable, and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 5 module and in particular will have become familiar with some of the central concepts in philosophy of logic and language.  They will also have learned how to relate some of the issues studied in the course to issues in other courses, such as metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

Detailed information on the current year’s module can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff. 

Further information 

Module aims

This module aims to acquaint students with the chief ideas of some leading philosophers of logic and language including Frege, Russell, Strawson, Davidson, Grice and Kripke.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 5 module and in particular will have become familiar with some of the central concepts in philosophy of logic and language. They will also have learned how to relate some of the issues studied in the course to issues in other courses, such as metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

Past syllabi

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.

Detailed information on the current year’s module can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff. 

Core reading
  • Gottlob Frege, “On Sense and Reference” (core)
  • Bertrand Russell, “On Denoting” (core)
  • P.F. Strawson, “On Referring” (core)
  • Keith Donnellan “Reference and Definite Descriptions” (core)

 

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

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