PHIL 345.001 – Reference and Meaning

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Instructor: John T. Roberts. This course meets MWF 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in CW 105.

This is an upper-level undergraduate course on the philosophy of language.  We will look at ways in which philosophers over the past 140 years or so have tried to explain what makes various sounds and markings able to have meaning, and to refer to things other than themselves.  We all also look at some of the ways in which uses of language can impact the social world in powerful ways (for example, marriage vows and racial slurs, just to name a couple).  Finally, we will consider the topic of how metaphors work.

Much contemporary philosophy of language uses tools from symbolic logic.  So, it will be very helpful if you have already taken PHIL 155 (or a similar course at another institution), though this is not strictly required.

Prerequisite: 1 PHIL course.