Home Up Syllabus Schedule Classnotes




Phil 158 / Spring 2005




Reading Assignments


Jan. 26 (W)

Introduction / Methodological frame / Conceptual distinctions


Part 1  Language and Objects: What Language is About

Jan. 31 (M)

Frege on Sense and Reference

 CR: (1)

Feb. 2 (W)

Reference and Descriptions (1): Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

 CR: (2); PL: Ch.2 [pp.12-21]

Feb. 7 (M)

Reference and Descriptions (2): Challenges to Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

 CR: (20), (21); PL: Ch.2 [pp.21-  33]

Feb. 9 (W)

Reference and Names (1): The Description Theory

 CR: (3), (6), (4) [pp.272-281]; PL: Ch.3

Feb. 14 (M)

Reference and Names (2): The Causal Theory

 CR: (4) [pp.272-281], (5); PL: Ch.4

Feb. 16 (W)

Intro to Object-Oriented Approaches to Meaning: (1) Proposition Theory;

 PL: Ch.5, pp.80-86

Feb. 21 (M)

Truth as Semantic Relation between Language and Reality: Tarski’s approach

 CR: (7)

Feb. 23 (W)

Object-Oriented Approaches to Meaning (2): Davidson’s Truth-Condition Theory

 CR: (8); PL: Ch.9 [pp.131-139]

Feb. 28 (M)

Object-Oriented Approaches to Meaning (2): Davidson’s Truth-Condition Theory-Objections and Defenses

 PL: Ch.9 [pp.140-147]

March 2 (W)

Language and Social Reality

 CR: (9)

March 7 (M)

John Searle’s Colloquium Talk “How Humans Create a Social Reality”

Time & Place: King Library, Conference Room 225, 4:30 pm

March 9 (W)

Confucius’ and Gongsun Long’s accounts of rectification of names


March 14 (M)

A thick-object account of how correspondence between language and reality is possible


Part 2  Language and Thought: What Language is For

March 16 (W)

Can Language Expresses Thought (1): Wittgenstein

 CR: (10)

March 21 (M)

Can Language Expresses Thought (2): Lao Zi


March 23 (W): Midterm Exam

April 4 (M)

Idea Approaches to Meaning (1): Metal-Image Theory / Mental-State Theory

 CR: (11), (12); PL: Ch.5 and Ch.7

April 6 (W)

Idea Approaches to Meaning (2): ‘Language of Thought’ Theory


April 11 (M)

Interpretation and Translation (1): Quine on Radical Translation

 CR: (13)

April 13 (W)

Interpretation and Translation (2): Davidson on Radical Interpretation

 CR: (14)

April 18 (M)

Wittgenstein on Private Language

 CR: (15)

Part 3  Language in Action: What Speakers Do with Language

April 20 (W)

‘Use’ Approach to Meaning: ‘Use’ Theory

 CR: (16); PL: Ch.6

April 25 (M)

Speech Act Theory (1)

 CR: (17), (18); PL: Ch.12

April 27 (W)

Speech Act Theory (2)

 CR: (19)

May 2 (M)

A Pragmatic Theory of Language in the Context of Chinese Philosophy


Part 4  Language and Logic:  Structure of Language and Reasoning Embedded in Language

May 4 (W)

Do Different Natural Languages Share the Same Structure

 CR: (22), (23)

May 9 (M)

Reasoning embedded in Natural Language(s)


May 11 (W)

Discussion Forum


May 16 (M)

Review for Final


May 16 (M): Term paper due in class

May 24 (Tuesday): 12:15 – 14:30: Final Examination

Note:                                                                                                                                                                       The above schedule is for guidance only and may change in the event of extenuating circumstances.