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)