philosophy of language

philosophy of language


University of Edinburgh :: PHIL10005


Course description: This course is an introduction to some central themes in the philosophy of language—with a primarily focus on the relationship between meaning, reference, and content. We will study a range of classical and contemporary theories about the semantics of referring expressions such as proper names and indexicals. Throughout we will explore some of the connected philosophical questions--issues related to, e.g., modality, apriority, belief, self-locating thought, and subjectivity.

Lecturer: Brian Rabern

Office: 4.04c, Dugald Stewart Building, University of Edinburgh

Office hours: Tues 11-12 and by appointment

Course secretary: Sam Bell (sam.bell[at]

Email: brian.rabern[at]

Main texts:


  • Kripke, Naming and necessity
  • Kaplan, Demonstratives


Background reading:


reading schedule


1. Footnotes to Plato


2. Sense and reference (slides)


3. Kripke on names

  • Kripke, Naming and necessity, Lecture 1*
  • Burgess, Kripke, Chapter 1


4. Kripke on modality


5. Naming and belief



BREAK Week -- 20-24 Feb.



6. Sense and indexicals


7. Character and content


8. Essential indexicality


9. Two-dimensionalism


10. Subjectivity and relativism


11. Tense and future contingents


(all readings on learn if not on the web)