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Instructor: Cal Fawell. This course meets MWF 8:00 – 8:50 a.m. in MU 105.

If animals can communicate, why can’t they talk?

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. Its guiding aim will be to help us approach the somewhat facetious question with which this course description began. In service of that aim, we will spend the first three segments discussing some classic questions in the philosophy of language:
1. What is the relationship between meaning and reference?
2. What is the relationship between meaning and a speaker’s intentions?
3. In what sense (if any) is language a normative enterprise?

In the fourth and final segment, we will look at how these questions relate to the question of whether animals (could) have language.

This is an introductory course and does not assume any background in philosophy or linguistics.