Philosophy of Language: Intriguing Puzzles and Paradoxes
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Are you interested in the philosophy of language? Curious about the philosophical problems that significant figures in the history of analytic philosophy were preoccupied with? Intrigued by the phenomenon of vagueness and paradoxes that boggle your mind?
This course will stimulate your mind, challenge what you've always taken for granted, and bring you to a higher level of philosophical skill.
In this course, I explain in clear language 4 philosophical problems. Step by step, I will explain each argument and provide potential solutions to some of the problems. Topics include: Kripke's Wittgenstein, Vagueness, Quine on the analytic/synthetic distinction, Davidson on meaning.
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|Section 1: Introduction|
In this lecture, I go over the topics of the course and what to expect.
|Section 2: Kripke's Wittgenstein|
This lecture is about a skeptical problem developed by Kripke according to his reading of Wittgenstein. Students will be able to identify the skeptical problem, learn about dispositionalism and the normativity thesis of meaning, and explore a possible solution to the skeptical problem.
Recommended reading: From On Rules and Private Language (1982), Saul Kripke in The Philosophy of Language Edition 6 by Martinich and Sosa.
|Section 3: The Sorites Paradox|
In this lecture, we look at the Sorites Paradox and a view called Supervaluationism. Problems with supervaluationism are discussed.
Students will be able to identify the sorites paradox, learn about supervaluationism, and identify problems with supervaluationism.
Chapters 1-2 of Vagueness by Timothy Williamson.
Supervaluationism in Theories of Vagueness by Rosanna Keefe
Chapter 5 of Vagueness by Timothy Williamson
In this lecture, we explore epistemicism, identify the argument from supervenience of meaning on use, and discuss Timothy Williamson's Margin of Error argument.
Students will learn about epistemicism and identify problems with epistemicism.
Chapters 7-8 of Vagueness by Timothy Williamson
The epistemic view of vagueness in Theories of Vagueness by Rosanna Keefe
|Section 4: The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction|
We will look at two arguments Quine gives against the existence of the analytic/synthetic distinction. Students will be able to identify Quine's arguments, learn what confirmation holism is, and learn about the notions of analyticity and synonymy.
Recommended reading: Two Dogmas of Empiricism (1951), W. V. Quine in The Philosophy of Language Edition 6 by Martinich and Sosa.
The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction
|Section 5: Davidson on Meaning|
In this first part of the lecture on Davidson's theory of meaning, we will look at Davidson's proposal for a theory of meaning. Students will learn about the Fregean theory of meaning, the non-triviality requirement, and the compositionality thesis of meaning.
Recommended reading: Truth and Meaning (1967), Donald Davidson in The Philosophy of Language Edition 6 by Martinich and Sosa.
Davidson on Meaning
In this second part of the lecture on Davidson's theory of meaning, we will examine Davidson's argument for the truth theory of meaning. In the process, the issues of understanding a truth-condition and of the level of understanding of a truth-condition will emerge. We will explore potential problems for Davidson's argument, including the problems of demonstratives and of belief ascription.
Students will be able to identify Davidson's truth theory of meaning, assess his argument for the truth theory of meaning, and gain a sense of the limitation of theoretical activity.
Davidson on Meaning 2
|Section 6: Conclusion|
In the conclusion, I congratulate you on your accomplishment.
Hi there! My name is Richard Han. I earned my PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, Riverside. I have extensive teaching experience: 6 years as a teaching assistant at University of California, Riverside, over two years as a faculty member at Western Governors University, #1 in secondary education by the National Council on Teacher Quality, and as a faculty member at Trident University International. My expertise includes calculus and linear algebra. I am an instructor on Udemy for the courses Philosophy of Language: Solidify Critical Thinking Skills and Linear Algebra for Beginners: Open Doors to Great Careers.