PHL313 Philosophy of Language
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Current Assignments No homeworks by email!
Final exam, 10:30 - 12:30 in CC231. It will cover
mostly the material after reference: theories of
meaning, performatives, metaphor, the Sapir-Whorf
hypothesis. You will be well-prepared if and only
if you have been keeping up with the readings.
The following questions may be helpful and close to our
test topics. Exam questions may be worded differently
but will be restricted to these topics.
- Recognize a passage from one of our key readings
and explain what is being argued and where it fits
in the theorist's view.
- Analyze a proper name or natural kind term as would
Russell, Searle, Kripke, Putnam, Millikan.
- Describe the relative merits and problems for the
causal theory and descriptive theories of reference.
- Describe the truth-based theory of meaning. What is
the modal logic extenion of this theory? What problem is
that modal logic extension meant to solve?
- Describe the use-theory of meaning.
- Contrast the use and truth theories of meaning. What's
a benefit and difficulty with each?
- What are performative utterances (and illocutionary
acts)? What are some examples of performative utterances?
Do you think there is some systematic order to them, or
are they of boundless possible kinds?
- Why might performative utterances pose a problem for the
truth based theory of meaning? How might a defender of the
truth based theory of meaning handle them?
- What is Davidson's theory of metaphor?
- What is Martinich's theory of metaphor?
- What is the paradox regarding rule-following that
Kripke claims to find in Wittgenstein's book Philosophical
Investigations? Explain the paradox carefully, and use
- What is the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? What two
questions does Whorf aim to answer with his Hopi
language examples? How does Whorf answer these
questions? Mention some features of the differences
between Hopi and SAE that he claims to identify.
- What did Kempton and Kay show (or not show) with their
experiments regarding the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? Did they
confirm it, or disconfirm it? What two experiments did they
do? Why did they do two experiments?
- What is Saussure's theory of value? How does he explain
meaning? Does he explain reference? If so, how?
- Rorty claims Derrida describes a way of understanding
philosophy and other intellectual endeavors without
reference. What does this mean? What does it mean to
say that all is text, and that all our intellectual
endeavors are the interpretation of text?
Determine whether there is anything outside language.