Academic year
Josep Macià
Department of Philosophy
Universitat de Barcelona
Master courses
Module 4. Language and Mind
2016-10-03 - 2016-12-14
5/10 to 14/12: Wed, 12h-14h. Additionally: 3/10, 10/10, 17/10, 24/10: Mon 9:30-11:30
Facultat de Filosofia, UB - Room 411



The course aims to provide an advanced introduction to some central topics in the philosophical study of language:  meaning and speaker’s intentions, analyticity, reference, compositionality, presuppositions , what is said vs. what is communicated, and expressive content.

Structure and Contents:


  1. Course overview and introduction (session 1)
  2. Analyticity (session 2)
  3. Meaning and intentions (sessions 3-6)
  4. Reference (sessions 7-8)
  5. Compositionality (sessions 9-10)
  6. Dimensions of meaning (sessions 11-15)



A detailed syllabus will be distributed on the first day of classes.



There will be a reading  assigned for each session. For each  reading the teacher will provide a list of “reading questions” that should help the students understand the reading and focus on its most relevant parts. In class we will discuss these reading questions and typically the teacher will also present and discuss some additional material.



Three short papers or problem sets, that will be related to the reading questions. 

Intended Learning Outcomes:  


CB6 – Students should be able to critically understand central texts about linguistics and the philosophy of language 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 about topics relating to the nature of language. 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 language.

CE2. Students should be able to identify the core arguments and theories of contemporary philosophy of language.

CE4. Students should be able to assess the writings of leading contemporary philosophers in the field of philosophy of language.

CE5. Students should be able to identify and critically engage with the current state of a particular philosophical debate, and form a reasoned view, even if provisional, about it.






David Beaver, D. , M. Simons, C. Roberts, J. Tonhauser (2016). “The Best Question: Explaining the projection behavior of factive verbs”. In Discourse Processes (Anton Benz and Katja Jasinskaja, eds.)

von Fintel, Kai: (2008). “What is presupposition accommodation, again?Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):137-170

Geurts, B. (2009). “Scalar implicatures and local pragmatics”. Mind and Language, 24-1, 51–79

Gluer, K. & P. Pagin (2003) “Meaning Theory and Autistic Speakers”. Mind and Language. 18(1): 23-51.

Grice, H. P. (1957) “Meaning”, Philosophical Review, 66 377-88 (also in Grice (1989))  

Grice, H. P. (1969) “Utterer’s meaning and intentions”, Philosophical Review (also in Grice (1989))

Grice, P., (1975) "Logic and conversation" (in Grice, P. (1989))

Grice, P., (1978) "Further notes on Logic and Conversation" (in Grice, P. (1989))

Grice, P. (1989) Studies in the Way of Words, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

Grice, H. P.  and P. F. Strawson (1956), “In defense of a dogma”, The Philosophical Review, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Apr., 1956), pp. 141-158

Hom, C., 2008, “The Semantics of Racial Epithets”, Journal of Philosophy, 105(8): 416-440

Hom, Christopher, (2010), “Pejoratives”, Philosophy Compass. Volume 5, Issue 2, 164–185 

Jeshion, R. (2013). “Slurs and stereotypes”. Analytic Philosophy, 54(3): 314–329  

Kennedy, Christopher and Louise McNally. (2010) “Color, context, and compositionality”. Synthese, 174.1:79-98.

Kripke, S. (1980): Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press. 

Lewis, D. (1975) “Languages and Language”, in Keith Gunderson (ed.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume VII, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 3–35. Reprinted in Philosophical Papers, Volume I, pp. 163-188

Potts, Christopher, (2007) “The expressive dimension”. 2007. Theoretical Linguistics 33(2): 165–197.

Potts, Christopher. 2015. “Presupposition and implicature”. In Shalom Lappin and Chris Fox, eds., The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory, 2nd edn, 168-202. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Quine, W.V.O., (1951), “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”, Philosophical Review, 60 (1951): 20–43; reprinted in From a Logical Point of View, pp. 20–46.

Sainsbury, R. M. (2001). “Two ways to smoke a cigarette”. Ratio, 14:386–406.

Schlenker, Philippe (2016),  “The Semantics/Pragmatics Interface”.  Cambridge Handbook of Formal Semantics (eds. Aloni and Dekker)

Simons, M. (2001) "On the Conversational Basis of Some Presuppositions". Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 11, 2001. 

Soames, S.: 1989, “Presupposition”. In Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Vol. 4, Gabbay and Guenthner (eds.).

Stalnaker, R. (2014). Context. Oxford, OUP (chapter 3)

Szabó, Zoltan (2001). “Adjectives in context”. In I. Kenesei and R. M. Harnish (eds.), Perspectives on Semantics, Pragmatics and Discourse: A Festschrift for Ferenc Kiefer. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 119–146.

Travis, C. (1994). “On constraints of generality”. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 94:165–188.

Travis, C. (1997). “Pragmatics”. In B. Hale and C. Wright (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of  Language. Oxford: Blackwell, 87–106.