Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
The course introduces students to the main topics and problems at stake in contemporary philosophy of language. It starts with Frege's distinction between Sinn and Bedeutung to then proceed with some of the most relevant contributions to the discussion around the notion of linguistic meaning (Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, Davidson, Austin, Grice, Putnam, Putnam, Kripke, Donnellan, Dummett; semantic minimalism, indicalism and contextualism).
Expected learning outcomes
- Knowledge of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of language. The themes will be considered in connection both with (a) the ways in which the philosophical tradition has addressed the problem of language and with (b) the approaches and results of current scientific research on language and on languages informed by linguistics, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, etc.
- Mastery of the terminology, concepts and argumentative methods currently adopted by philosophical-linguistic research.
- Ability to analyze some of the key texts of the contemporary philosophy of language.
- Ability to critically interpret everyday linguistic and communicative phenomena.
Being an introductory module, it does not require any specific prerequisites.
A knowledge of elementary logic (propositional and predicate calculus) could still be helpful.
_ Sense and reference (Frege)
- Russell's theory of definite description
- Sense and truth (Wittgenstein and "Tractatus logico-philosophicus")
- Meaning and use (Wittgenstein and "Philosophical Investigations")
- The causal theory of reference (Kripke)
- The meaning of "meaning" (Putnam)
- Truth and meaning (Davidson)
- Realism and antirealism (Dummett)
- Language and speech acts (Austin)
- The conversational implicatures (Grice)
- Indexical and semantic contextualism
1. Arguing about Language, edited by D. Byrne and Max Koelbel, Routledge, London 2010
2. G. Kemp, What is this thing called Philosophy of Language, Routledge, London/New York 2013
3. H. Cappelen & J. Dever, Context and Communication, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016
Learning will be verified through a questionnaire of 10 open questions to be completed in two hours.
The questionnaire can be analyzed and discussed with the lecturer.
The course lecturer will explain the main topics, contents, etc. object of the course during the teaching sessions.
Students will be solicited to intervene with questions, requests for clarification, objections. Furthermore, they will be invited to identify possible answers to the problems under discussion, to produce arguments and to find good examples.
Additional readings may be found online. I will make them electronically available (I.S.A. material).
The material on JSTOR can be downloaded directly from the electronic resources of the Library.
Three seminars of two hours each will be held by a Ph.D. student, concerning classic themes and authors of linguistic pragmatics.
Type of exam
written and oral
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals
This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Human capital, health, education" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development
Last update of the programme: 23/04/2019
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