Academic year
Manuel García-Carpintero
Department of Philosophy
Universitat de Barcelona
Master courses
Module 7. Issues in Contemporary Theoretical and Practical Philosophy
2015-02-18 - 2015-05-27
Wed. 12-14
Room 412, Facultat de Filosofia, UB


The course will be an advanced introduction to some central topics in semantics and pragmatics: reference and speakers intentions, anaphora, definite and indefinite descriptions, what is said vs. what is communicated, presuppositions, conversational implicatures, expressive content, compositionality.


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 student 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 some additional material.


Several very short papers or problem sets.


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.


CG1 - Students should critically assess and evaluate arguments and develop sound arguments of their own; and they should also be able to detect logical fallacies.


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.


• Heim, I., (1982): The semantics of definite and indefinite NPs, doctoral thesis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (Chapter 1).

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

• Neale, S. (1990): Descriptions. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

• Evans, G. (1980): "Pronouns", Linguistic Inquiry 11. 337-362. Reprinted in: Evans, G. (1985): Collected Papers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

• Frege, Gottlob. (1892), “Über Sinn und Bedeutung”, a Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Philosophische Kritik 100: 25-50.  “On Sense and Reference” in Beany, Michael: The Frege Reader. Blackwell.

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

• Grice, H. P. (1957) “Meaning” (in Grice, P. (1989)) 

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

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

• Grice, P.,  "Further notes on Logic and Coversation" (in Grice, P. (1989))

• Heim, I, (1983): File Change Semantics and the Familiarity Theory of Definiteness. In A. von Stechow, R. Bauerle, and C. Schwarze (eds.), Meaning, use and Interpretation. Berlin: W. de Gruyter.

• Hom, Christopher, (2010), “Pejoratives”, (Philosophy Compass)

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

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

• Rothschild, Daniel and Gabriel Segal  (2009) “Indexical Predicates,” Mind and Language, 24(4), pp. 467-493

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

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

• Stalnaker, R., 1974, ‘Pragmatic Presupposition’, in Stalnaker [1999], 47-62.

• 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.