PHIL 116. Language and Meaning

(Cross-listed as LING 116 )
Language is an excellent tool for expressing and communicating thoughts. You can let your friend know that there will probably be fewer than 25 trains from Elwyn to Gladstone next Wednesday - but could you do this without using language (have you tried?)? Even more interesting is the question how you can do this using language. How can the sounds I produce or the marks that I leave on this sheet of paper be about the dog outside chasing the squirrel? How can words refer to things and how can sentences be true or false? Where does meaning come from? Philosophy has dealt with such questions for a long time but it was only a bit more than 100 years ago that these questions have taken center stage in philosophy. We will read and discuss such more recent authors, starting with the „classics" Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein and leading up to authors like Austin, Carnap, Davidson, Grice, Kripke, Ludlow, Putnam, Quine Searle, Strawson, Waismann and Whorf.
This seminar is intended for Seniors and Juniors, with priority given to honors students taking it as an honors preparation.  Others should contact the instructor for permission to enroll.
2 credits.
Eligible for COGS
Fall 2024. Baumann.
Catalog chapter: Philosophy  
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