Zine Study XIV: [language]; by Shawn

Philosophy 234
Philosophy of Language

Autumn 2020

Where: https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/92043077333 (password listed on the canvas page, or available from instructor)
When: Tuesdays 1-3:50

Instructor: Jonathan Cohen
email: Last name, followed by the at sign, followed by the four letter abbreviation for the university, followed by '.', followed by 'edu'
Office hours: Fridays 2-3 and by appointment, at https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/98299912360.

This graduate seminar in philosophy will serve as an introduction to several topics in contemporary philosophy of language. I take that to mean that (i) it will be fairly broad (i.e., unspecialized) in its coverage, and (ii) it will be devoted to materials that are often presupposed in more specialized discussions in contemporary philosophy of language. In short, this seminar will provide you an opportunity to read many of the philosophy of language articles that you know you should have under your belt but never get around to reading.

It will count for the department's graduate distribution requirement in the area of philosophy of mind and language, and as a core course in philosophy.

Course Requirements

All attendees (including auditors) will be required to lead a seminar discussion. A presentation should be a critical discussion rather than a mere summary or book report (the presenter can assume that other participants have done the reading, and the other participants will make it the case that such an assumption is correct!), and should contain a thesis and arguments for that thesis. It can concern any topic connected with the week's reading that is of interest to the presenter. Seminar presentations may be given using notes, a handout, or slides, but they may not be read aloud from a pre-written paper.

Students can satisfy the writing requirement for the course in one of two ways. The first option involves writing shortish, weekly homework assignments. Students electing this option will have to do all of the homework assignments (I predict there will 7-8 of them), but won't be asked to write a term paper at the end of the quarter. The second option is to write a traditional (circa 15 page) term paper at the end of the quarter on some issue raised during the quarter and discussed with me by the 7th week of the quarter. Advantages of the first option: it is a low-risk way of getting acquainted with the material, and makes receiving an incomplete for the course unlikely. Advantages of the second option: it allows you the opportunity to dig more deeply into some issue that you care about, and you'll end up with a stand-alone philosophical paper of which you can be proud.

Tentative Schedule

Most readings are linked below and obtainable (though in some cases only from a UCSD ip number, possibly through vpn). Everything should also be available at the UCSD library e-reserves.
1.Organizational Meetingno reading
2.Frege on Sense and ReferenceFrege, "On Sense and Reference", "The Thought"; Burge, "Frege on Sense and Linguistic Meaning"
3.Definite DescriptionsRussell, "Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description", "On Denoting"; Strawson, "On Referring"; Donellan, "Reference and Definite Descriptions"; Kripke, "Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference"
4.Kripke on Proper NamesKripke, Naming and Necessity, lectures I-II.
5.Quine on AnalyticityAyer, Language, Truth, and Logic, ch1-4; Quine, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"
6.Conversational ImplicatureGrice, "Logic and Conversation", "Further Notes on Logic and Conversation"
7.Gricean Intention Based SemanticsSchiffer, Remnants of Meaning, ch 9; Lewis, "Languages and Language"
8.Inferential Role SemanticsBlock, "Advertisement for a Semantics for Psychology"; Fodor and Lepore, Holism: A Shopper's Guide, ch 6
9.Davidson on CompositionalityDavidson, "Theories of Meaning and Learnable Languages", "Truth and Meaning"; Matthews, "Learnability of Semantic Theory"; Schiffer, Remnants of Meaning, ch 7-8
10.Kaplan on demonstrativesKaplan, "Demonstratives," "Afterthoughts"