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Instructor: Cal Fawell. This course meets MTWRF 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in CW 213 via in-person (IP) instruction.

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

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. Its central aim will be to help us approach the somewhat facetious question with which this course description began. In service of that aim, we will discuss the following questions:

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?
4. How do the above questions relate to the question of whether animals (could) have language?

This course will cover readings by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Grice, Putnam, Davidson, Churchland, and others.

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