Representation and Reality

   Course Outline






There is a very useful guide to the argument styles of several of the philosophers that we've encountered during this course here.



Note that the penultimate lecture will be on Grice. Modify your reading plans accordingly.



NB: For the exam/essay, use the guide to referencing that is provided on the course web site. 


Failure to reference properly will be penalised.



1.      NB: The take-home exam questions are now available here. A hard copy is also available from the envelope on my office door. Note that all these questions really require reading beyond the lecture notes or course readings for a satisfactory answer, and are intended to elicit independent thinking on the topics. Note also that those who wish to work on questions that deal with topics that haven't yet been covered in lectures are welcome to consult me for assistance.


2.     NB too:

a.     Question 2 refers to Evans' critique in 'Identity and predication', Journal of Philosophy (1975). A copy of this will be put in the High Use section sometime next week.

b.     In question 3 I'd like to see some discussion of Sellars' IRS, as presented in, for example, 'Some Reflections on Language Games' in (1963) Science,Perception, and Reality. Or, even better, some discussion of Brandom (1994) Making it Explicit.


3.      I will be talking about Davidson's truth/meaning theory in the next lecture, so remember to refresh yourselves on that material before you turn up to those tutorials.



The lecture schedule shows that I'm supposed to be talking about Davidsonian truth conditional theories of meaning, but I think I should give you a couple of other types of meaning theory before I do that to you. I'm not sure which are the most accessible yet, but I'll tell you by Wednesday evening and indicate any readings that you should do.



I changed my mind about the lecture this week, so if you've diligently been reading the Wittgenstein extract I apologise. We will in fact be talking about the Entity Theory of meaning. I don't have a really good reading in the reader for this. The Frege article is a bit off track. Well, we'll see how it goes. 



I've put a little explanation of how to read the logical notation I used in the last lecture in the resources. Go here. Hope it's useful.


The tutorials for week 5 will deal with Russell's description theory of names. Do the appropriate readings. Check the revised lecture schedule to find out what they are.



I've put a couple of useful-ish links in the resources page. Anything else you'd like to see there?



Tutorials for week 4 will be dealing with Russell's theory of definite descriptions. Read his article 'On Denoting'. I'll also be considering briefly Donnellan's contribution to the theory of DD so read his article too. The Russell one is pretty tricky but do give it a go.


For those annoying students who were giving me a hard time about Frege's 'force': Frege had various ideas about this. A good way to think of it - which would have been a consistent theory for Frege to have - is to say that assertoric sentences, imperatives, interrogatives, optatives, etc. differ in their 'force', which is to say that although their content may be the same, the linguistic act that is intended by their utterance is different. Compare 'the door is shut', 'shut the door!', 'is the door shut?', 'oh, that the window were shut', etc. In fact Frege denies in 'Sense and Reference' that these types of sentence differ in their force, but when he's describing the difference betwen the sense and force of assertions (in postumus writings) he tells a story like the one I just gave. In other places he admits that imperatives must be distinguished by force rather than sense from indicative assertions. (And he always thought that definition had a different force from mere assertion.) On this subject, as you can see, Frege was a mess.



Tutorials for week 3 will deal with Frege's distinction between sense and reference. Read his article in the reader. And note that there is a sketch of the lecture available on the lecture schedule page here.



NB: The first essay is now available. Pick it up from the pouch on my door, or get it online here.



Tutorials begin this week, and I suppose we can talk about the introductory lecture, but if you'd rather talk about the Mill and Frege material that I'll be presenting that'd be OK too.