Academic year
2022/2023
Teachers
Neri Marsili and Eduardo PĂ©rez Navarro
Department
Department of Philosophy
University
Universitat de Barcelona
Itinerary
Master courses
Module
Module 7. Issues in Contemporary Theoretical and Practical Philosophy
Code
570640
Credits
5
Language
English
Dates
2022-10-06 - 2022-12-08
Schedule
Thursdays, 16:30-19:30
Location
Philosophy Faculty (UB), Room 401.

Description

Description

This course is conceived as an introduction to some foundational topics on meaning and communication. After offering some basic notions of semantics, we will focus on pragmatics. We will cover topics such as implicatures, speech acts, and the role of norms and commitments in communication. Finally, we will survey some contemporary attempts to model the state of a conversation.

 

Structure of the course, contents and readings

1. Introduction to truth-conditional semantics

  • Required: Heim, I. & Kratzer, A. (1998). Semantics in Generative Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell [pp. 1–26].
  • Recommended: Chierchia, G. & McConnell-Ginet, S. (2000). Meaning and Grammar: An Introduction to Semantics. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press [chapter 1].

2. Saying and implicating

  • Required: Grice, P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In C. Peter & J. Morgan (eds.), Speech Acts (pp. 41–58). New York: New York Academic Press.
  • Recommended: Grice, P. (1957). Meaning. The Philosophical Review, 66 (3), 377–388.

3. Speech acts, expression, and force

  • Required: Searle, J. R. & Vanderveken, D. (1985). Foundations of Illocutionary Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985 [chapter 1].
  • Recommended: Green, M. (2020). Speech acts. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/speech-acts/ [sections 1–3].

4. Norms of assertion

  • Required: Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and Its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press [chapter 11].
  • Recommended: Pagin, P. & Marsili, N. (2021). Assertion. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/assertion/#NormAsse [section 5.1, including supplementary material].

5. Norms, costs, and stable communication

  • Required: Graham, P. J. (2020). Assertions, handicaps, and social norms. Episteme, 17(3), 349–63.
  • Recommended:  Green, M. (2009). Speech acts, the handicap principle and the expression of psychological states. Mind & Language, 24(2), 139–163.

6. Commitment and deniability

  • Required: Mazzarella, D. (2021) ‘I didn’t mean to suggest anything like that!’: Deniability and context reconstruction. Mind & Language. DOI: 10.1111/mila.12377.
  • Recommended: Shapiro, L. (2020). Commitment accounts of assertion. In S. C. Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion (pp. 73–97). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

7. Lying and misleading

  • Required: Viebahn, E. (2021). The lying/misleading distinction: A commitment-based approach. The Journal of Philosophy, 118(6), 289–319.
  • Recommended: Mahon, J. (2015). The definition of lying and deception. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lying-definition/

8. Assertion and common ground

  • Required: Stalnaker, R. (1978). Assertion. In P. Cole (ed.), Pragmatics (pp. 315–332). New York: New York Academy Press.
  • Recommended: Stalnaker, R. (1974). Pragmatic presuppositions. In M. K Munitz & P. Unger (eds.), Semantics and Philosophy (pp. 197–214). New York: New York University Press.

9. From the common ground to the conversational score

  • Required: Lewis, D. (1979). Scorekeeping in a language game. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 8(3), 339–359.

10. From the conversational score to the discourse context

  • Required: Roberts, C. (2004). Context in dynamic interpretation. In R. L. Horn & G. Ward (eds.), Handbook of Pragmatics (pp. 197–220). Oxford: Blackwell.

Methodology

The first half of each session will consist in a frontal lecture, with the second half will consist in a seminar discussion of a pre-read paper. For each reading, students will be asked to do some simple written homework that will also serve as a starting point for the seminar discussion.





Evaluation

The homework and participation in seminars will be subject to evaluation, which will contribute to 30% of the final mark (15% each). The other 70% will be based on the evaluation of a final essay.


Bibliography

Introductory readings

 

Bibliography

  • Beaver, D., Geurts, B., & Denlinger, K. (2021). Presupposition. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/presupposition/.
  • Chierchia, G. & McConnell-Ginet, S. (2000). Meaning and Grammar: An Introduction to Semantics. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.
  • Graham, P. J. (2020). Assertions, handicaps, and social norms. Episteme, 17(3), 349–63.
  • Green, M. (2009). Speech acts, the handicap principle and the expression of psychological states. Mind & Language, 24(2), 139–163.
  • Green, M. (2020). Speech acts. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/speech-acts/.
  • Grice, P. (1957). Meaning. The Philosophical Review, 66 (3), 377–388.
  • Grice, P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In C. Peter & J. Morgan (eds.), Speech Acts (pp. 41–58). New York: New York Academic Press.
  • Heim, I. & Kratzer, A. (1998). Semantics in Generative Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Huang, Y. (ed., 2017). The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Korta, K. & Perry, J. (2020). Pragmatics. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pragmatics/.
  • Lewis, D. (1979). Scorekeeping in a language game. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 8(3), 339–359.
  • Mahon, J. (2015). The definition of lying and deception. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lying-definition/.
  • Mazzarella, D. (2021). ‘I didn’t mean to suggest anything like that!’: Deniability and context reconstruction. Mind & Language. DOI: 10.1111/mila.12377.
  • Pagin, P. & Marsili, N. (2021). Assertion. In E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/assertion/.
  • Roberts, C. (2004). Context in dynamic interpretation. In R. L. Horn & G. Ward (eds.), Handbook of Pragmatics (pp. 197–220). Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Russell, G., & Fara, D. G. (eds., 2012). The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. New York: Routledge.
  • Searle, J. R. & Vanderveken, D. (1985). Foundations of Illocutionary Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • Shapiro, L. (2020). Commitment accounts of assertion. In S. C. Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion (pp. 73–97). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Stalnaker, R. (1974). Pragmatic presuppositions. In M. K Munitz & P. Unger (eds.), Semantics and Philosophy (pp. 197–214). New York: New York University Press.
  • Stalnaker, R. (1978). Assertion. In P. Cole (ed.), Pragmatics (pp. 315–332). New York: New York Academy Press.
  • Viebahn, E. (2021). The lying/misleading distinction: A commitment-based approach. The Journal of Philosophy, 118(6), 289–319.
  • Williamson, T. (2000). Knowledge and Its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



 

 


Other considerations

Note regarding COVID-19

In the (hopefully unlikely) event that the COVID-19 pandemic were to make face-to-face teaching unadvisable, the course would be given online, using applications such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Students would be expected to connect during the indicated hours for the entire course and to actively participate in seminar discussions. The essay submission and evaluation processes would stay the same.

Equality policy

In agreement with the University of Barcelona Equality Policy, this course will incorporate a gender perspective that will include, among others, the following aspects. Regarding class dynamics, we will try to ensure that everyone feels equally welcomed and encouraged to contribute to class discussions. Regarding the content of the course and the readings that will be the basis for the different sessions of the course, we will use a bibliography that takes appropriately into account the significant contributions made by women to the topics we will discuss. Regarding the grading of the course, we will try to be aware that unconscious gender biases might interfere in the grading process and will try to apply mechanisms to prevent them.