Philosophy of Language

Fall, 2012
Curtis Brown


Note: Everything on this schedule is tentative! We may make adjustments, possibly even major adjustments, as needed. I will keep the online version up to date.

Date Topic Assignment
Wed, Aug 22 Introduction to the Class  
Mon, Aug 27 Russell's Logical Atomism I Philosophy of Logical Atomism, lectures 1-3
(lectures 1-2:;
lectures 3-4:
Wed, Aug 29 Russell's Logical Atomism II Philosophy of Logical Atomism, lectures 4-6
(for lecture 4 see link above; lecxtures 5-6:
Mon, Sept 3 NO CLASS - LABOR DAY  
Wed, Sept 5 Russell's Logical Atomism III; Lycan on Reference and Meaning and Definite Descriptions Philosophy of Logical Atomism, lectures 7-8 (
Mon, Sept 10 Reference and Meaning; Definite Descriptions Lycan, chapter 1-2
Wed, Sept 12 Traditional Theories Lycan chapter 5; Locke handout
Mon, Sept 17 "Use" Theories Lycan, chapter 6; Wittgenstein, Investigations through section 120 (handout)
Wed, Sept 19 Grice's program Lycan, chapter 7
Mon, Sept 24 verificationism I A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, selections
Wed, Sept 26 verificationism II A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, further selections; Lycan, chapter 8
Mon, Oct 1 verificationism III W. V. Quine, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"
Wed, Oct 3 truth-conditions theories Lycan, chapters 9-10
paper proposal due
Mon, Oct 8 catch-up day; review for midterm exam no new reading
Wed, Oct 10


Mon, Oct 15 Kripke I Naming and Necessity, lecture 1
Wed, Oct 17 Kripke II Naming and Necessity, lecture 2
Mon, Oct 22 Kripke III Naming and Necessity, lecture 3; Lycan, chapters 3-4
Wed, Oct 24 introduction to pragmatics Lycan, chapters 11-12
Mon, Oct 29 Douglas Hofstadter Visit! Douglas R. Hofstadter, Le Ton beau de Marot, chapters 10-11
Wed, Oct 31 speech acts J. L. Austin, "Performatives" (handout)
Mon, Nov 5 speech acts and conversations Lycan, chapter 13; Grice, "Logic and Conversation"
Wed, Nov 7 Metaphor Lycan, chapter 14; C. S. Lewis, "Bluspels and Flalansferes"
Mon, Nov 12 paper presentations Presenters: Jack K, Jack N, Josh
Wed, Nov 14 paper presentations Presenters: Cinco, Ben, Darren
Mon, Nov 19 paper presentation
Presenter: Lizhu, Jack N
Wed, Nov 21


Mon, Nov 26 Language & Thought I: Philosophical Themes FINAL PAPER DUE (note: moved from Nov. 19)
Selections from Benjamin Lee Whorff, George Orwell, Steven Pinker, and Stephanie Ross
Wed, Nov 28 Language & Thought II: Empirical Issues Papers by Lera Boroditsky and colleagues
Mon, Dec 3 Innateness of Syntax; review for final exam Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on whether syntax is innate:
Thursday, Dec 13



Last update: November 12, 2012
Curtis Brown | Philosophy of Language | Philosophy Department | Trinity University