Philosophy 370

PHIL 370: Philosophy of Language

Prerequisite: Three hours of philosophy

Credit Hours: (3)

This course examines the contemporary philosophical focus on language. Course topics include the nature and functions of language and theories of meaning. The course will consider both the historical roots and recent developments in the area.


Detailed Description of the Content of the Course

This course will focus in a dual way on the linguistic turn in contemporary thought. First, a brief text, laying out many of the fundamental issues and distinctions in Anglo-American philosophy of language will be studied. After gaining a broad picture of the basic issues and ideas in philosophy of language, the study will turn to the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein to determine how his thought derives from a radical reflection on language. Texts may include the following:

  • Philosophy of Language, by William Alston
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, by Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Philosophical Investigations, by Ludwig Wittgenstein


Detailed Description of the Conduct of the Course

The lecture method will be used with discussion. A class presentation on some aspect of language and class participation will also be included in the methodology which will be followed.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students should:

1. Develop an understanding of the issues and implications of the current status of the study of philosophy of language.
2. Know the significance of the study of philosophy of language.
3. Attain an indepth knowledge of one of the great contemporary thinkers in this field.


Assessment Measures

The grade will be based on a mid-term examination which is worth 25% of the grade. The final examination will be worth 30%; a journal of reflections on language (turned in three times) is worth 15%; a class presentation will be worth 15%; and class participation will comprise the remaining 15%.


Other Course Information

This course may be used as a department elective for Philosophy and Religious Studies major.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

July 1991 None Charles D. Taylor, Chair
May 1994 None Kim J. Kipling, Chair
May 1995 Catalog entry revised. Kim J. Kipling, Chair
January 27, 1997 Course number change Approved by VPAA
April 17, 1998 Reviewed Kim Kipling
September 18, 2001 Reviewed Kim Kipling