|Representation and Reality|
Dr Stephen Watson
1 – E338
Note: please enter the subject heading ‘PHIL2010’ in all email
Consultation Hours: If the above consultation hours are inconvenient for
you, do not hesitate to contact me by telephone or email to arrange a
The philosophy of language is one of the central
areas of research in contemporary philosophy and is of relevance to a
number of areas of research within philosophy including the philosophy
of mind, logic and metaphysics. This course introduces the student to
some of the basic issues in the philosophy of language such as the
nature of meaning, reference and truth as well as topics in
interpretation, convention, and pragmatics.
Aims and Objectives
The aims of this course are: to provide students
with a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of central issues in the
philosophy of language, to develop their capacity to recognise and
evaluate arguments and to engage in original and independent research
while promoting their ability to communicate ideas philosophically.
These aims will be pursued through reading material and lectures that
are representative of the current debate and through assessment in which
students are asked to complete assignments throughout the whole course.
Emphasis will be placed on developing a clear understanding of the
issues and arguments and refining ideas prior to and in preparation for
the writing of essays and exams. Tutorials will be designed to promote
the development of skills in philosophical analysis through in-class
analysis of specified texts and practice tests on structuring a research
Lectures commence in Week 1 of semester. Lecture
notes will be made available through the course homepage each week.
Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Tutorials commence in the second
week of semester:
Discussion and debate are
important aspects of philosophical inquiry. Tutorials are designed to
give you the opportunity to discuss and work through lecture material in
a more relaxed and personal environment. Tutorial Participation will be
graded (10% of overall mark). This reflects the value placed on these
important opportunities to pursue course material in greater depth, to
see philosophy "being done" by dialogue with your tutors and
fellow students, and to find out more about areas of the course that you
find unclear or which seem interesting to you. Remember, tutorials are
your chance to use teaching staff as your own resource and you are
strongly advised to make use of the opportunity. Verbal skills are an
important aspect of university education, and tutorial discussion
provides a good opportunity for developing them.
A Course Reader will be available through POD for $16.90.
Many students have also found the following book very helpful both for
writing essays and for approaching the subject of philosophy generally:
Seech, Zachary, Writing Philosophy Papers. Belmont, Calif.:
In addition to the expected continuing attendance of lectures and
tutorials you will be required to complete the following assessment:
be due Friday September 17, 5pm.
You are asked to write a 2000 word essay addressing one of the topics set by the lecturer. The topics will be handed out in the first week of class or downloaded from the course homepage.
students will be required to write about 1000 words more.
be due Friday, October 29. 5pm.
You are asked to write a 3000 word essay
addressing one of the topics set by the lecturer. The topics will be
handed out in class on September 22 or downloaded from the course
Graduate students will be required to write about 1000 words more.
Extensions on due dates for essay assignments or the take-home exam are
only permitted if you have a legitimate reason (e.g. illness, etc.). If
you cannot submit an assignment by the due date, you should consult the
course coordinator immediately concerning the possibility of an
extension. You should not ask for an extension after the essay is due as
it will not be given, except where you were physically incapable of
making a phone call before the essay is due. Evidence of your illness
etc. will be required. Conflicts with assessment for other courses,
computer failures and work constraints are not sufficient grounds for
being awarded an extension. Late papers may receive a grade reduction of
one point per day overdue (e.g., if your paper is worth a 5 and is one
day late the grade drops to 5-).
Plagiarism is an academic offence and will be
penalized. Please refer to the School's Manual of Style, and to the School's
web-site for further clarification.
The University accepts the following definition
"Plagiarism is the action or practice of taking and using as one's
own the thoughts or writings of another, without acknowledgment."
The following practices constitute acts of
plagiarism and are a major infringement of the University's academic
Plagiarism carries strict penalties which could
result in a student's being expelled from University. Occurrences of
plagiarism in this course will result in a formal complaint being lodged
by the lecturer with the University against the student.
Assessment Criteria and Policies
Students are responsible for familiarizing
themselves with School policy regarding assessment.
Students should also consult the School's Manual
of Style for Essay Writing regarding technical questions in the
producing and presentation of their essays. Useful information may also
be found on the UQ Cybrary web-page under "Advice & Training -
Mid-term essays, take-home exams and final
grades are marked according to the University’s seven point system:
To gain a HIGH DISTINCTION (7) students
need to demonstrate considerable originality and sophistication in their
approach. Their work must excel in research, critical analysis,
philosophical debate and writing style.
To gain a DISTINCTION (6) students must
demonstrate an understanding of deeper and more complex aspects of the
subject, and show a capacity for original evaluation and interpretation.
Extensive reading is necessary and some understanding of philosophical
debate is desirable, with a solid writing style.
To gain a CREDIT (5) students must show
that they are capable of doing more than drawing together the ideas of
others: they must demonstrate some analytical skills and research
Students can expect to PASS (4) if they
fulfil all assessment requirements at a basic level, demonstrating a
reasonable understanding of the fundamental issues and concepts
Students will be awarded a CONCEDED PASS (3)
if their work is close to satisfactory overall, but has failed to reach
the basic level of competence necessary for a Pass; or if some work is
Students will be awarded a FAIL (2) if
they do not satisfy the basic requirements of the subject.
Students who have submitted some work, but of a
totally unsatisfactory standard, will be awarded a SERIOUS FAIL (1).
The following criteria will be used in
determining how well students satisfy grade requirements:
1. Knowledge of the arguments and literature.
SATISFYING (1) IS A STUDENT'S HIGHEST PRIORITY.
Of these criteria it is necessary to demonstrate (1) to receive a
passing grade. (2)-(4) determine how well above a pass the student does.
All written work will be expected to defend a thesis which offers
supporting reasons for claims asserted. Students are not expected to
develop original theories at this level but are expected to exercise
originality in critically assessing existing theories.
on how to write a philosophy essay. This is an extremely useful site
for the beginning philosopher. It contains a number of sites helping
students grasp philosophical writing techniques as well as on-line
dictionaries and encyclopaedias of philosophy.
Attributes and Skills Relevant to this Course
Communication: Logical reasoning and conceptual clarification will
be central to the approach in the course. The ability to convey ideas
and information clearly and fluently, both in written and spoken form
will be fostered through the written assignments and tutorial
Computer Literacy: Basic relevant web skills will be used for
information retrieval. The ability to use computers for presentation
will also be fostered by the requirement for properly presented
Critical Thinking: The ability to identify issues, think independently,
apply critical reasoning and make informed judgments will be constantly
developed during the presentation of the lectures and in tutorials.
The ability to identify, define and analyse problems, evaluate opinions,
and link skills of philosophical reflection to the contemporary world
will be emphasized throughout the subject through the structure of the
lecture material and tutorial work.
Scholarship: Experience in the scholarship process through which
knowledge is gained and disseminated will be gained through the
systematic study of the readings and web material.
Students are advised to read the material set down for the course, attend
all lectures, and participate actively in tutorials. If you apply
yourselves to the task on a week-by-week basis (avoiding cramming) then
you are most likely to do well and enjoy the course more.
If you feel you would benefit from reading around more you might consult
philosophy websites and additional materials in the library. A number of
readers and additional source material will be made available in the
high-use area of the library.
There are many guides available - the Philosophy Department has listed
many of them at http://www.arts.uq.edu.au/philosophy/essays.html
(the guides to writing philosophy essays are usually very helpful on
studying philosophy as well)
There is an on-campus service available to all students who may require
assistance with more general problems relating to their academic work,
e.g. essay writing skills, returning to study after a long break,
preparing assignments or seminars, stress, etc. This supplementary
assistance is available through the Learning Assistance Unit — a part
of Student Support Services — in the Relaxation Block, Student Union
Complex. Telephone 336 51704.
Any student who for whatever reason (not just physical
disabilities) may require alternative academic arrangements is
encouraged to seek advice at the commencement of the semester from a
Disability Advisor at Student Support Services (Telephone 336 51704).