Phil/Ling 375: Meaning and Mind
Class meeting time: M W 4:00 – 5:15 PM Instructor: Dr. JeeLoo Liu
Class location: Hum-228 Office location: H-311(I)
Telephone: (657) 278-7560 (email preferred) Office hours: M W 11:00-11:30 am
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org M W 2:30—3:30 pm
or by appointment
1. A.P. Martinich (Ed.) Philosophy of Language (fifth edition) Oxford University Press. 2012. 5th edition.
2. Saul Kriple. Naming and Necessity. Harvard University Press (New edition), 1980.
3. Steven Pinker. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Prerequisites: six units of philosophy, six units of linguistics or three units of each. This course covers philosophical issues about language and mind, including topics such as meaning, reference, truth, speech act and belief. (Same as Ling 375).
Course Description: What is meaning? What is the nature of language? How does oneÕs speech convey what one means with oneÕs words? What is the relationship between language and mind? How is linguistic communication possible? This course serves as an introduction to philosophy of language, with the focus on the interplay between meaning and mind. What one thinks or says has a lot to do with oneÕs understanding of the meaning of words as well as the sociolinguistic conventions governing the usage of such words. We will explore a host of issues related to meaning and mind, such as the nature of language, the meaning of meaning, speech and communication, interpretation and belief report, naming and reference, etc. Students are expected to do all readings thoroughly and write homework assignments. Class participation is strongly emphasized.
(1) to introduce students to the main topics and theories in 20th century Anglo-American philosophy of language;
(2) to develop a theory of linguistic communication;
(3) to teach students some important philosophical techniques of argumentation; and
(4) to improve each individual studentÕs ability to read critically and to write clearly and precisely.
Student Learning Goals:
G1.Students will demonstrate general understanding of several key issues in contemporary philosophy of language and possess adequate knowledge of current philosophical discussions on such issues that concerns the connections between the content of our thoughts and the sociolinguistic community that surrounds us.
G2. Students will master the skills to write a philosophy paper that includes critical reasoning, sustained argumentation, and insight. Students will also learn the basics of doing research in philosophy.
G3. Students will demonstrate the ability to organize and present course materials in class. This training can enhance their ability to teach or orally communicate ideas in public.
G4. Students will improve their critical reading skills and be able to analyze and critique difficult analytic philosophical articles on their own.
Date Content of discussion Assignments for this class
M 8/25 Introductory Remarks: What is Philosophy of None
W 8/27 Language and Thought Pinker, Chapters 1, 3
What is a language?
M 9/1 Labor Day [No School]
W 9/3 David Lewis: Languages and Language PL pp. 656-674
Could there be a private language?
M 9/8 Wittgenstein: from Philosophical Investigations PL (6) pp. 661-668
[pdf. on Titanium]
W 9/10 Saul Kripke: On Rules and Private Language PL pp. 626-636
Essay #1 due in class:?
What is a speech act?
M 9/15 J. L. Austin: Performative Utterances PL pp. 136-145
W 9/17 John Searle: The Structure of Illocutionary Acts PL pp.146-156
How do I interpret what you mean?
M 9/22 W. V. Quine: Translation and Meaning PL pp. 546-573
W 9/24 W. V. Quine: Translation and Meaning [ContÕd] PL pp. 546-573
Essay #2 due in class
M 9/29 Donald Davidson: A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs PL pp. 585-595
W 10/1 Donald Davidson: Belief and the Basis of Meaning PL pp. 576-584
Meaning and Analyticity
M 10/6 W. V. Quine: Two Dogmas of Empiricism PL pp. 63-75
W 10/8 W. V. Quine: Two Dogmas of Empiricism [ContÕd] PL pp. 63-75
Essay #3 due in class
M 10/13 H. P. Grice & P. F. Strawson: In Defense of A Dogma PL(6) pp. 469-478
W 10/15 Hilary Putnam: ŌTwo DogmasĶ Revisited PL(6) pp. 479-485
[pdf. on Titanium]
M 10/20 Review
W 10/22 Mid-term Exam (Bring a large blue book)
Names: Reference and Description
M 10/27 Gottlob Frege: On Sense and Reference PL pp. 217-228
W 10/29 Gottlob Frege: On Sense and Reference [ContÕd] PL pp. 217-228
Essay #4 due in class
M 11/3 Bertrand Russell: On Denoting PL pp. 230-238
W 11/5 Bertrand Russell: Descriptions PL pp. 239-245
M 11/10 P. F. Strawson: On Referring PL pp. 246-260
W 11/12 Keith Donnellan: Reference and Definite Descriptions PL pp. 265-276
Essay #5 due in class
M 11/17 Gareth Evans: The Causal Theory of Names PL pp. 314-325
W 11/19 John Searle: Proper Names [pdf]
M 11/24 Thanksgiving Break [No Class]
W 11/26 Thanksgiving Break [No Class]
Naming and Necessity
M 12/1 Saul Kripke: Naming and Necessity, Lecture I NN pp. 22-70
W 12/3 Saul Kripke: Naming and Necessity, Lecture II NN pp. 71-105
M 12/8 Saul Kripke: Naming and Necessity, Lecture III NN pp. 106-155
W 12/10 Last Day of Class: Review Term Paper Due
Final Exam 12/17 (Wednesday) 5:00-6:50 PM Bring a large blue book.