Philosophy of Language (400)
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Office Hours

MF 9-10:30
T 11-12
and by appointment


Introduction to Philosophy
Symbolic Logic
Berkeley, Hume, Kant, & Mill
Early Analytic Philosophy
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Art
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
Topics in Logic
Puzzles and Paradoxes

Other Links

Ryckman's Logic Works
Philosophy of Language Links
A Berkelean Conversation
Postmodernist Kuhnian Page

Philosophy Blogs

Russell's Theory of Descriptions | On Kripke's Rigidity Thesis | On Denoting | On Sense and Reference

Naming and Necessity


  • Naming and Necessity. Saul Kripke.

  • The Philosopher's Dictionary. Robert Martin.

On Reserve: The articles mentioned on the course outline.

Requirements: Mid-term Paper (20 pts), Final Paper (30 pts), four of five pop-quizzes (20pts), and a Final Exam (30 pts).The mid-term paper will be a short (3-4 page) essay on Russell's Theory of Descriptions. The final paper is on a topic to be negotiated.

Course Outline:

A. The Millian Theory of the Meaning of Names. (Devitt)

B. Arguments against the Millian theory. (Devitt, Frege and Russell-1)

C. The Description Theory of the Meaning and Reference of Names.

  1. Frege's version. (Frege)
  2. Russell's version. (Russell-1 and Russell-2)

D. Arguments against the Description Theory. (Naming and Necessity)

E. In defense of the Description Theory. (Searle)

F. Two puzzles From Kripke.

  1. Kripke's Puzzle About Belief. (Kripke)
    • Four attempted solutions. (Harrison, Marcus, Noonan, and Over)
    • Are beliefs in the head? (Lewis
    • A local Millian attempt. (Ryckman)
  2. Kripke's Puzzle of the Contingent A Priori. (Naming and Necessity)
    • Two attempted Millian solutions. (Blackburn and Donnellan)
    • A local Millian attempt. (Ryckman)

 By me for class:

Frege's House

Astronomy buff?Gottlob FregeSaul Kripke There are things that do not exist?Alexius MeinongIt is wise to stock the mind with puzzles.Bertrand RussellOf Barcan formula fame.Ruth MarcusNot a Postmodernist.John Searle