Tyler W. Hildebrand
Current theories of meaning, reference, predication, and related concepts. Offered: jointly with LING 476.
Language is one of the most amazing (and puzzling) features of our world. We use it to formulate and refine our beliefs, to choose our actions, to change the beliefs of others, to influence the action of others, and so on. Language has these powers precisely because it is meaningful. Notice, however, that meaningfulness is not the same as language itself. Different terms in the same language can have the same meaning. Expressions in different languages can have the same meaning. What kind of thing is a meaning? Are meanings "things" at all? How do words and other expressions acquire or express meaning? As thinking beings, what is our contribution to the meaningfulness of language? Theses are some of the questions that we shall investigate in this course. Specific topics include: theories of reference, meaning, naming, and intention, plus a brief introduction to formal semantics. (Offered jointly with LING 476.) TEXT: "Philosophy of Language", Alexander Miller.
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