The nature of language (5 cr)
- 2015-02-18 - 2015-05-27
- Wed. 9:30-12
- Room 412, Facultat de Filosofia, UB
Syllabus Nature Language
18 Februar (BJ)
(1)R. Stalnaker, ‘After the fall’, last chapter in Our Knowledge of the Interior World
(2) Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, one-page excerpt re: Lagadonian language
(3) B. Jespersen & C. Reintges, ‘Tractarian Sätze, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the very idea of script as picture‘, Philosophical Forum 39 (2008): 1-19.
25 February (BJ) G. Nunberg, ‘Indexicality and deixis’, Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (1993): 1-43.
4 March (MGC)
11 March (MGC)
18 March (MGC)
25 March (BJ) R. Muskens, ‘Sense and the computation of reference’, Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (2005): 473-504.
1 April (BJ) P. Tichý, ‘An approach to intensional analysis’, Nous 5 (1971): 273-97.
8 April (BJ) E. Zalta, ‘A comparison of two intensional logics’, Linguistics and Philosophy 11 (1988): 59-89.
15 April (BJ) Z.G. Szabó, ‘On qualification’, Philosophical Perspectives 17 (2003): 385-414.
22 April (MGC)
29 April (BJ) H. Kamp, ‘Two theories about adjectives’, in: E. L. Keenan (ed.), Formal Semantics of Natural Language, Cambridge et al.: Cambridge University Press (1975), pp. 123-55.
6 May (BJ) B. Jespersen & M. Duží & M. Carrara, ‘Double privation and multiply modified artefact properties’, manuscript in submission.
13 May (BJ) K. Lambert, ‘Predication and extensionality’, Journal of Philosophical Logic 3 (1974): 255-64.
20 May (BJ) A. Lenci, ‘The structure of predication’, Synthese 114 (1998): 233-76.
27 May (BJ) D. Liebesman, ‘Predication as ascription’, Mind, forthcoming.
Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (short excerpt)
However, many of the most learned and wise adhere to the new scheme of expressing themselves by things; which hath only this inconvenience attending it, that if a man's business be very great, and of various kinds, he must be obliged, in proportion, to carry a greater bundle of things upon his back, unless he can afford one or two strong servants to attend him. I have often beheld two of those sages almost sinking under the weight of their packs, like pedlars [peddlers] among us; who, when they met in the streets, would lay down their loads, open their sacks, and hold conversation for an hour together; then put up their implements, help each other resume their burdens, and take their leave.
But, for short conversations, a man may carry implements in his pockets, and under his arms, enough to supply him; and in his house he cannot be at a loss. Therefore the room where company meet, who practice this art, is full of all things ready at hand, requisite to furnish matter for this kind of artificial converse.
Another great advantage, proposed by this invention, was, that it would serve as a universal language, to be understood in all civilized nations, whose goods and utensils are generally of the same kind, or nearly resembling, so that their uses might easily be comprehended. And thus ambassadors would be qualified to treat with foreign princes, or ministers of state, to whose tongues they were utter strangers.
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The first two sessions will consist in lectures devoted to introducing the topics of the course and the relevant basic notions of formal analysis of natural language. After that, the course will be run in the style of a seminar. We will study a set text in each session. All participants are expected to study each week’s reading carefully in advance, so as to be prepared for the class discussion. The texts are available online.
The module will be evaluated by a weighted combination of three factors. Participation in class will be evaluated in terms of quality of preparation and of contributions to the discussion. There will be 3 very short exercises, which I will ask you to complete during the course. Their main purpose is to allow you to check whether you are on top of the material, and to motivate you to stay on top. Finally, you will be expected to write a term paper, running to 2,000 words at most, on a question you choose from a list of essay questions, which will be made available towards the end of the course. The essay will be due DATE TO BE DECIDED UPON. The weighting of the three factors is as follows:
- Class participation: 15%
- 3 short exercises: 35%
- Essay: 50%
Intended Learning Outcomes:
CB6 – Students should be able to critically understand central texts in the philosophy of mind in a way that puts them in a position to develop and apply original ideas.
CB9 - Students should be able to communicate their knowledge and their arguments to specialized audiences in a clear and articulate way.
CG2. Students should be able to design, create, develop and undertake new and innovative projects in their area of expertise.
CG3. Students should be able to engage both in general and specific discussions in the domain of the philosophy of the cognitive sciences. They should be able to conduct a philosophical discussion (orally and in written form), by putting forward, for example, general arguments or specific examples, in support of one’s position.
CG4. Students should be able to work both independently and in a team, in an international environment.
CG5 - Students should be able to identify methodological errors, rhetorical, conventional and uncritical assumptions, vagueness and superficiality.
CE1 - Students should be able to critically engage with the concepts and methods of contemporary philosophy of mind.
CE2. Students should be able to identify the core arguments and theories of contemporary philosophy of the cognitive sciences.
CG5. Students should be able to identify methodological errors, rhetorical, conventional and uncritical assumptions, vagueness and superficiality.
CE7 - Students should be able to critically use specialized terminology in the field of philosophy of philosophy of mind.
Bealer, George (1998). Propositions. Mind 107 (425):1-32.
Castañeda, Hector-Neri (1967). Indicators and Quasi-Indicators. American Philosophical Quarterly 4 (2):85--100.
Kripke, Saul, A. (1971). Identity and necessity. In Milton Karl Munitz (ed.), Identity and Individuation. New York,New York University Press. 135--164.
Montague, Richard (1970). Pragmatics and intensional logic. Synthese 22 (1-2):68—94.
Montague, Richard (1970). “English as a formal language”, in B. Visentini et al. (eds.), Linguaggi nella Societa et nella Technica, Milan: Edizioni di Communita, 188–221. Reprinted in Thomason (ed.) 1974, pp. 188–221.
Pavel Tichý (1978): Two Kinds of Intensional Logic, Epistemologia 1, 143-164.
Saul, Jennifer M. (1997). Substitution and simple sentences. Analysis 57 (2):102–108.
Stalnaker, Robert (1978): “Assertion,” in P. Cole (ed.) Syntax and Semantics 9, New York: Academic Press, 315-332.