Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM5780 (AF:335335 AR:177984)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
3rd Term
Course year
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Context, meaning, and communication
The goal of this course is to provide students with an introduction to some of the central data, questions, concepts, and theories of context-sensitivity

The course is scheduled among the Core educational activities shared by Master’s degree programme in Philosophical Sciences and in History of Arts and Conservation of Artistic Heritage.

- Knowledge of the main stages of the problem of context and context-sensitivity
- Ability to distinguish between the various approaches to the problem
- Ability to identify the theoretical relevance of the problem also in areas and contexts of research not specifically philosophical (law, art and poetry, artificial intelligence etc.)
The course is designed to be accessible to a broad range of students, not just those who intend to major in philosophy.
Albeit not a pre-requisite, having taken an introductory course of philosophy of language in the three-year undergraduate degree and/or having some knowledge of elementary logic can still be helpful to follow the course with profit and awareness
- Semantic contextualism and "the contextual turn"
- Frege and Wittgenstein on the context principle
- theories of context-sensitivity
- what are contexts
- context and indexical expressions
- semantic contextualism versus semantic relativism
- context between pragmatics and semantics
- context and communication

1) Hermann Cappelen/Josh Dever, Context and communication, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016
2) Stefano Predelli, Contexts. Meaning, Truth, and the Use of Language, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2007

Twoo options: 1) the drafting of a short paper (about 15,000 characters) agreed with the teacher, on a question, a problem, a theme analysed during the course; the deadline to submit the paper is seven days before the exam session; 2) a questionnaire of 10 open questions to be completed in two hours.
The course is arranged into two parts. The first one entails the critical exposition and discussion of the main themes and problems of the course (with the contribution of students’ questions, requests for clarification, objections); in the second part the students will present and discuss the themes and topics chosen for the papers in view of the final written project.

Twoo seminars of two hours each will be held jointly by Ph.D. students. Some different topics will be treated, in order to introduce some of the key concepts in the last century’s and contemporary philosophy of language. Attendance is mandatory for those who have not taken any philosophy of language class before.

Accessibility, Disability and Inclusion
Ca' Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding support services and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). If you have a disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services:
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 04/06/2020