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]ed.ac.uk)
Kripke, Naming and necessity
Stanley, "Philosophy of Language in the Twentieth Century"
1. Footnotes to Plato
Williams, 'Cratylus' theory of names and its refutation'
"What's in a Name? Plato's Cratylus" (Adamson podcast)
2. Sense and reference (slides)
Mill, 'Of names' (pp. 9-19)
Frege, 'Sense and reference'*
3. Kripke on names
Kripke, Naming and necessity, Lecture 1*
Burgess, Kripke, Chapter 1
4. Kripke on modality
Quine, 'Reference and modality'
Kripke, Naming and necessity Lectures 1&2*
Marcus, 'Modalities and intensional languages' (and 1962 discussion by Kripke, Quine, and Marcus)
5. Naming and belief
Kripke, 'A puzzle about belief'*
BREAK Week -- 20-24 Feb.
6. Sense and indexicals
Frege, 'The Thought'
*Kaplan, 'Demonstratives', sec. I-V
7. Character and content
*Kaplan, 'Demonstratives', sec. VI-XIX
8. Essential indexicality
*Perry, 'The problem of the essential indexical'
Lewis, 'Attitudes de dicto and de se'
Evans, 'Reference and contingency'
*Chalmers, 'On sense and intension'
10. Subjectivity and relativism
Prior, 'Egocentric logic'
*Lasersohn, 'Context Dependence, Disagreement, and Predicates of Personal Taste'
11. Tense and future contingents
*MacFarlane, 'Future Contingents and Relative Truth'
Weekly reading analysis 10 x 300 words (best 5 = 40%)
End-of-semester essay of 2,500 words (60%)