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PHI303: Philosophy of Language

Key details

Unit typeElective unit
Credit points6
Indicative contact hours3 hours per week
PrerequisitesNone
Offered inSemester 1
Tuition feeVisit www.campion.edu.au/tuition

Overview

This unit is intended to develop in the student an understanding of the nature and consequences of the so-called ‘linguistic turn’ of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in the course of which philosophy moved, roughly speaking, from an emphasis on the mind to an emphasis on language. Key concepts and distinctions in the philosophy of language, to be addressed in this course, may include: the analytic/synthetic distinction, logical atomism, the positivist verifiability criterion, internal vs. external questions, category errors, language games, meaning holism, the indeterminacy of translation, performativity, truth-conditional semantics, referential transparency and opacity, intensionality, the New Theory of Reference, naturalized semantics, neo-Russellian direct reference theories vs. neo-Fregean theories, the pragmatics/semantics distinction, and two-dimensionalism Familiarity with these concepts will be developed in the course of an engagement with the work of philophers who may include: Frege, Russell, and early Wittgenstein; Carnap, Ayer, and the Vienna Circle; late Wittgenstein, Quine; Austin, Grice and other speech-act theorists; Kripke, Putnam and other proponents of the New Theory of Reference; Tarski and Davidson on truth-conditional semantics; Kaplan, Evans and Chalmers on two-dimensional semantics, and various theorists of the semantics of propositional attitude ascriptions.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit of study, students will:

a) possess an in-depth understanding of the nature of the so-called ‘linguistic turn’ of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in the course of which philosophy moved from an emphasis on the mind to an emphasis on language
b) possess an understanding of the key concepts and distinctions in the philosophy of language, including a selection from: analytic/synthetic distinction, logical atomism, the positivist verifiability criterion, internal vs. external questions, category errors, language games, meaning holism, the indeterminacy of translation, performativity, truth-conditional semantics, referential transparency and opacity, intensionality, the New Theory of Reference, naturalized semantics, neo-Russellian direct reference theories vs. neo-Fregean theories, the pragmatics/semantics distinction, two-dimensionalism etc.
c) possess an understanding of the nature of, and interrelationships between, the philosophies of language found in the work of Frege, Russell, and early Wittgenstein; Carnap, Ayer, and the Vienna Circle; late Wittgenstein, Quine; and some selection from Austin, Grice and other speech-act theorists; Kripke, Putnam and other proponents of the New Theory of Reference; Tarski and Davidson on truth-conditional semantics; Kaplan, Humberstone & Davies, Evans and Soames on two-dimensional semantics, and various theorists of the semantics of propositional attitude ascriptions
d) be able to to apply knowledge of standard philosophical concepts and theories, in the course of engaging in research on, critical reading of, reflection on, and analysis of presented texts
e) be able to exercise and develop further the ability to summarise information and communicate in a persuasive, logical and coherent manner
f) be able to exhibit competently in written work clarity of expression, logical essay structure and appropriate use of referencing and bibliography according to the conventions of academic writing
g) be able to exercise and develop the ability to apply knowledge of standard philosophical concepts and theories in verbal discussion.

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