1. Sept 14th         Introduction: Language: Philosophical Issues.

2. Sept 21st         The Search for an Ur-Language; Lull’s Combinatorial Art

Eco, Intro, chs 1-2, pp. 1-33, 53-72.

3. Sept 28th        The Monogenetic Hypothesis; Indo-European

Eco, ch 5, pp. 73-116.

4. Oct 5th            Secret Languages, Symbols and Hieroglyphics

Eco, chs 7, 9, pp. 144-177, 194-208. Also read pp. 117-119 about what the Hermetic Philosophy is.

Saussure on semiotics: 

5. Oct 12th          Artificial Languages and the Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis

Eco, chs. 16, 17, pp. 317-353.

Edward Sapir, “The function of an international auxiliary language”, Psyche 11, (4): 4-15. 

George Orwell, 1984: (It does not matter if you do not read the whole thing, so long as you get the idea about Newspeak. Unfortunately the Appendix,  The Principles of Newspeak, is not reproduced in  this online version.)

Swoyer on Linguistic Relativism:

6. Oct 19th           Philosophical Languages; Leibniz and the Encyclopedia

Eco, chs. 10, 11, 14, pp. 209-237, 269-292.

Massimo Mugnai on Leibniz’s views on language. For copyright reasons, this chapter is now available only on Avenue to Learn (under Contents).

7. Oct 26th           Frege’s Philosophy of Language; Russell on Denoting

This Wikipedia article gives a useful introduction to Frege on Sense and Reference, and this one to Russell on Denoting.

Frege, "On Sense and Reference

Russell, “On Denoting”Mind, New Series, Vol. 14, No. 56. (Oct., 1905), pp. 479-493 (also available as an e-resource through the library) --N.B. Do not worry if you do not understand everything in this article. There was a conference at Mac recently on interpreting this article, and there were as many interpretations as there were talks!

Zalta on Frege:  --read section 3 only, "Frege's Philosophy of Language".

8. Nov 2nd          The Logical Positivist View of Language; Ayer, Quine


Quine: “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”:

NOTE: there are 2 versions of this paper: (this is section 2 of the interview with Bryan Magee; by all means watch more of this interview on YouTube, especially section 3, where Quine speaks about his Behaviorism. 

9. Nov 9th          The Pragmatics of Language

Grice, “Logic and Conversation”; Searle, “Indirect Speech Acts”. These articles are now downloadable from Avenue to Learn, under Contents. 

10. Nov 16th      Indeterminacy of Translation and Wittgenstein's  Private Language Argument

Quine, “Translation and meaning”: here is a summary of the argument of this chapter of Quine's book, Word and Object.  --(Peter Hylton): read the section on the Indeterminacy of Translation. --extracts fromWittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, with commentary by R. B. Jones.  --Stewart Candlish and George Wrisley on the welter of interpretations of Wittgenstein's Private Language Argument.

11. Nov 23rd      Innateness and Language: Chomskian Linguistics 

Steven Pinker, “The Blank Slate”, downloadable from Avenue to Learn, under Contents. article by Fiona Cowie, on Innateness and Language. --SEP article by Alex Barber on Idiolects.

12. Nov 30th      Language and Evolution

Chomsky, “Linguistics and Brain Science”, downloadable from Avenue to Learn, under Contents. (added Saturday; this ties in with course contents more than “The Faculty of Language”, although that is good on scientific evidence for language evolution.)

Chomsky, “The Faculty of Language”, downloadable from Avenue to Learn, under Contents.

Pinker,  “Language as an Adaptation to the Cognitive Niche”, downloadable from Avenue to Learn, under Contents. 

Mark Pagel, "How language transformed humanity" —an interesting lecture on language found for us by Emilee Gilpin.

© Richard T. W. Arthur 2011