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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

S Marc Cohen
LING 476
Seattle Campus

Philosophy of Language

Current theories of meaning, reference, predication, and related concepts. Offered: jointly with PHIL 453.

Class description

This course will introduce students to the philosophy of language through a survey of some of the most influential papers that have been written during the past 115 years, from Frege (1892) to the present. We will cover as many of the following topics as time permits: Frege’s theory of sense and reference, Russell’s theory of descriptions and its critics, direct reference theories, indexicality, referential opacity, propositional attitudes, meaning and speech-acts. We will read articles by Frege, Russell, Strawson, Donnellan, Kripke, Putnam, Kaplan, Quine, and Grice (among others).

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion.

Recommended preparation

While intended primarily for graduate students in philosophy and advanced undergraduate majors, the course is open to others with a suitable background in philosophy, including at least one upper division course. I will also presuppose a working knowledge of elementary symbolic logic (equivalent to PHIL 120) or the willingness to learn it quickly unaided.

Class assignments and grading

Written assignments (exam and paper).

Grades will be determined by an in-class mid-term exam and a final project: either a term paper (10-12 pages) or a take-home final exam. Graduate students must choose the term paper option. Those undergraduates taking the course for (optional) W (writing) credit must submit a preliminary draft or outline of the paper midway through the quarter.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by S Marc Cohen
Date: 04/23/2008