Philosophy | Philosophy and Language
P320 | 26354 | Weiner


The German philosopher-mathematician Gottlob Frege famously claimed
that it is possible to understand (or know the meaning of) a
sentence that one has never heard before, provided one already has
the right sort of familiarity with its constituents.  What must
meaning be like, if this is so?  One part of the story must be a
story about how the sentence is constructed out of words.  Moreover,
given that language can be used to say things about the world,
another part of the story must be about the relation between words
and the world.  This is a survey course, designed to acquaint you
with the core philosophical literature on meaning, truth and
reference.  Readings will include work by Frege, Russell, Tarski,
Strawson, Kripke, Putnam, Quine, and Davidson.  There will be
frequent ungraded but mandatory written assignments, 2 very short
papers, a mid-term and final examination.

Although the official prerequisite for this course is 3 hours in
philosophy, the literature in the philosophy of language is aimed at
an audience familiar with first order quantification theory.
Students will be expected to have a basic knowledge of logic (p250
or equivalent).