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Philosophy of Language: Intriguing Puzzles and Paradoxes

Explore some of the most intriguing and disturbing puzzles while strengthening your critical thinking skills.
4.4 (5 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,075 students enrolled
Created by Richard Han
Last updated 11/2014
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What Will I Learn?
Learn about special topics in the philosophy of language such as the phenomenon of vagueness.
Learn about the history of philosophy in figures like Quine and Wittgenstein and about the philosophical problems they were working on.
Explore challenging, cryptic, and sometimes disturbing philosophical puzzles.
Exercise your basic philosophical skills to higher-level reasoning.
Learn how philosophical arguments are analyzed.
Understand difficult classic articles in the philosophy of language.
View Curriculum
  • Basic logic and critical thinking required.
  • Recommended Textbook: The Philosophy of Language 6th Edition by Martinich and Sosa

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.

Full transcripts for each lecture are provided. 30 day full refund if not satisfied.

Grab a cup of coffee and start listening to the first lecture. Over 600 students have enrolled. We're waiting for your insights and questions! Enroll now!

Who is the target audience?
  • Suitable for anyone curious about puzzles in the philosophy of language or who are having difficulty understanding the classic articles in the philosophy of language.
  • Suitable for the philosophically curious layperson or amateur philosopher.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 8 Lectures Collapse All 8 Lectures 01:13:30
1 Lecture 00:51

In this lecture, I go over the topics of the course and what to expect.

Kripke's Wittgenstein
1 Lecture 12:10

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.

A Skeptical Puzzle

Kripke's Wittgenstein
5 questions
The Sorites Paradox
2 Lectures 19:25

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.

Recommended reading:

Chapters 1-2 of Vagueness by Timothy Williamson.

Supervaluationism in Theories of Vagueness by Rosanna Keefe

Chapter 5 of Vagueness by Timothy Williamson

Preview 08:41

6 questions

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.

Recommended reading:

Chapters 7-8 of Vagueness by Timothy Williamson

The epistemic view of vagueness in Theories of Vagueness by Rosanna Keefe


5 questions
The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction
1 Lecture 15:48

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.

Quine on the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction

The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction
5 questions
Davidson on Meaning
2 Lectures 24:47

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.

Preview 08:00

Davidson on Meaning
4 questions

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.

Truth Theory of Meaning: Part II

Davidson on Meaning 2
4 questions
1 Lecture 00:29

In the conclusion, I congratulate you on your accomplishment.

About the Instructor
4.3 Average rating
208 Reviews
4,587 Students
6 Courses
PhD in Mathematics

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.

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