Phil 435: Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Language (Spring 2007)

Professor JeeLoo Liu

(The following handouts are intended for pedagogical use only.)  




Date                Content of discussion                                              Assignments for this class



Week 1           Introductory Remarks: What is Philosophy of                      None

1/23                 Language?                                                                               


I.  The Nature of Language


Week 2           What is a language?                                                

1/30                 (1) David Lewis: Languages and Language                             PL pp. 562-580

                        (2) John Lock: Of Words                                                        PL pp. 509-513

                        Essay #1 due in class [mandatory]


Week 3           Could there be a private language?                                  

2/6                   (1) John Cook: Wittgenstein on Privacy                                PL pp. 514-530

                        (2) Saul Kripke: On Rules and Private Language                    PL pp. 531-541         

                        Essay #2 due in class [mandatory]


II. Speech and Communication


Week 4           What is a speech act?                                                          

2/13                 (1) J. L. Austin: Performative Utterances                              PL pp. 130-139

                        (2) John Searle: The Structure of Illocutionary Acts              PL pp. 140-150

                        Essay #3 due in class [mandatory]



III. Interpretation and Translation


Week 5           How do I interpret what you mean if you use the wrong words?                         

2/20                 (1) Donald Davidson: Belief and the Basis of Meaning         PL pp. 464-472

                        (2) Donald Davidson: A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs       PL pp. 473-483

                        (2) Essay #4 due in class



Week 6           Are meanings and beliefs “in the head”?  -- Twin-Earth Visited

2/27                 (1) Hilary Putnam: Meaning and Reference                           PL pp. 288-294

                        (2) Tyler Burge: Individualism and the Mental                      [handouts]

                        Essay #5 due in class


Week 7           How do I report your belief if your belief is in your head?

3/6                   (1) W. V. Quine: Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes     PL pp. 355-360

                        (2) Saul Kripke: A Puzzle about Belief                                  PL pp. 405-424

                        Essay #6 due in class


Week 8           (1) Mid-term Exam (Bring a large blue book)

3/13                 (2) Introduction to the New Topic: Frege’s Puzzle



IV.  Reference and Descriptions


Week 9           What does a name mean?

3/20                 (1) John Stuart Mill: Of Names                                              PL pp. 266-271

                        (2) Gottlob Frege: On Sense and Nominatum (Reference)     PL pp. 199-210

                        Essay #7 due in class


Week 10         Spring Recess



Week 11         How do we denote something or someone?

4/3                   (1) Bertrand Russell: On Denoting                                         PL pp. 212-219

                        (2) Bertrand Russell: Descriptions                                         PL pp. 221-227

                        Essay #8 due in class                                                           


Week 12         How do we refer to something or someone?

4/10                 (1) P. F. Strawson: On Referring                                            PL pp. 228-242

                        (2) Keith Donnellan: Reference and Definite Descriptions    PL pp. 247-258

                        Term Paper (minimum 8 pages) due in class


Week 13         What is the direct reference theory?

4/17                 Saul Kripke: Naming and Necessity, Lecture I                       NN pp. 22-70

                        Essay #9 due in class


Week 14         What is the direct reference theory?

4/24                 Saul Kripke: Naming and Necessity, Lecture II                     NN pp. 71-105

                        Saul Kripke: Naming and Necessity, Lecture III

                       Essay #10 due in class


Week 15         What other things do I refer directly? 

5/1                   (1) John Perry: The Problem of the Essential Indexical         PL pp. 339-348

                        (2) David Kaplan: Dthat                                                         PL pp. 325-337

                        Essay #11 due in class