Phil 3E03 home

CLASSES: W 11:30-14:20 MDCL 1010                                      OFFICE HOURS: T 11:00-1200, F 11:30-12:30

INSTRUCTOR: Richard T. W. Arthur  rarthur at mcmaster dot ca        OFFICE: UH 305; ext. 23470.

About the Course

This course offers a lively introduction to some of the main philosophical issues concerning language. We will motivate the discussion by looking at attempts in the early modern period to devise a perfect language, the later discovery of the Indo-European nucleus of many of the world’s languages, the invention of artificial languages, including modern logic and computer languages, the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, and Chomskian linguistics.

Among the other issues we will discuss are theories of reference, meaning and truth, positivist views of language, linguistic relativity, the relation of language to thought, the notion of a universal grammar, conversational implicature and semantic pragmatics.

Apart from the set text, a wide variety of other readings will be provided as links to documents on the web, and research paper topics will be provided on the course web site.

© Richard T. W. Arthur 2011