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LING 4589 - Philosophy of Language

A survey of some of the main issues in contemporary philosophy of language. The course will cover a variety of approaches to questions such as: What is the nature of language? How do words get their sense? What is it to say something? What kinds of objects can we talk about, and how do we do so? What is the relationship between language and reality? How is it possible to understand what someone else says? Topics include: theories of meaning, truth, belief, interpretation, translation, speech acts, performatives, rule-following, reference, naming, propositional attitudes, and metaphor. We will read work by a wide variety of authors, including Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, Tarski, Austin, Strawson, Grice, Searle, Chomsky, Davidson, Kripke, and Putnam. Texts: The Philosophy of Language, ed. A. P. Martinich and David Sosa. Oxford UP 2012 (6th edition.) Do not buy earlier editions, as the contents and pagination are different.An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language, Michael Morris. Cambridge UP, 2007. Additional readings will be made available via an ICON course-site.
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