Philosophy 4914
Philosophy of Language
Room: 225 Coates
Time: 1:40-3:00; T, Th
Exam time: Tuesday, December 13, 3:00-5:00 P.M.
Instructor: Jon Cogburn
Instructor's Office: 312 Coates
Instructor's Office Hours: W 1:00-3:00
Instructor's e-mail: joncogburn@yahoo.com
Course's Purpose:
The general purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with those key issues in the philosophy of language which (in the instructor's opinion) should be a part of every philosopher's cultural baggage. However, more specifically, we will investigate whether analytic philosophy of language and metaphysics has anything to contribute to literary theory.
All of the course readings are from the following sources.

Miller, Alexander Philosophy of Language  
Dowling, William The Senses of the Text
In addition, we will read three papers: (1) John Searle's essay "Literary Theory and Its Discontents" reprinted recently in the excellent anthology Theory's Empire (ed. Daphne Patai and Will Corrall), (2) Hilary Putnam's "Meaning Holism," (3) Mark Wilson's "Predicate Meets Property," and (4) selected articles by Stalnaker and Lewis about possible worlds. Theses will be available for photocopy outside of my office (312 Coates) albeit you can also get the articles from the LSU library).
Internet Resources:
Students are required to keep up with any notes posted by the instructor on the world wide web. These notes will usually be an explanation of what we have discussed in class, clarifying and systematizing many of the main points. To access these notes, go to the instructor's home page at http://www.artsci.lsu.edu/phil/phil1/cogburn/currentcourses/intro.html and follow the links to the notes for this class.
Paper grade. This grade is based on 7 papers, each worth 15 points. Each paper should be from five to ten pages depending on the amount of material we covered in the previous section, and be a good philosophy paper (i.e. defending well a central thesis, while explicating some main arguments from the reading in question). If you do not know how to write a good philosophy paper, go on-line today and order A.P. Martinich's excellent Philosophical Writing: An Introduction.
All papers must fulfill a number of formatting requirements:  (1) They must be left justified with one inch margins, (2) they must be typed in 12 point Times or 12 point Times-Roman font, (3) page numbers must be centered at the bottom of the page, (4) papers must be double spaced (with the exception of cited material which is indented), (5) papers must be printed out with either an ink jet or laser printer, (6) papers must be stapled together (do not use binders or folders of any sort), and (7) student's name, the date, and the time her course meets must be at the top right hand corner of the first page.  Any deviation from these requirements will result in a zero on the paper.
2% points will be deducted per day that a paper (with the exception of the final one- no late papers will be accepted for the final paper) is late. No distinction is made between excused and unexcused reasons for lateness. The subject matter of this class is both difficult and such that understanding is cumulative. Thus it is both vitally important to do the papers in order, and such that one will not be able to make up the papers in the last week of class after being absent all semester. If illness or emergencies cause you to be unable to turn the papers in early enough to pass with this policy, I will do everything possible to support a petition of excused late withdrawal from the class.
[Notes: (1) Late papers will be accepted without point deductions from philospophy graduate students in the semester they are defending their thesis, albeit the above policy will go into affect for all papers due more than one week after the date in which they have defended their thesis. (2) Graduate students in the semester of thesis defense, can with consent of the instructor substitute a substantive term paper (with rought draft) for the short papers, (3) Better papers will be expected from graduate students, and the grading will be as a result more harsh. If you have questions about these policies please talk with me. There are several papers due, and I will have a lot of opportunity to give graduate and undergraduate students constructive feedback to help them write good philosophy papers.]
Participation. Participation is worth 10% of the final grade. This will be determined by attendance and class discussion.
Attendance is mandatory for two reasons.  First, discussion is an essential part of philosophy.  Failure to attend class not only robs the other students and instructor of your insights, it also helps to create an environment less conducive to discussion.  Second, the material we cover in this class is difficult.  Grasping it requires both grappling with it at home by yourself and with friends, but also hearing what the instructor and other students have to say. 

The attendence policy is simple.  For each unexcused absence the student will lose 1.5 points from her final grade up to 10 points.

Note: The final number of possible points is 115. I will still grade out of the standard 100 point grade scale (i.e. 115-90 = A, 89-80 = B, 79-70 = C, 69-60 = D, < 60 = F).
Office Hour Policy:
Students are strongly recommended to make use of the instructor's office hours throughout the semester. 
Tentative Schedule:
Note:  This schedule is only tentative.  Any changes will be announced in class, and then updated here on the site.
1. Introduction

Week 1................

Tuesday, Aug. 23 
Thursday, Aug. 25.....
Read Searle, "Literary Theory and Its Discontents"
On the Very Idea of a Concept-Script
Read: Miller, 1.1-1.3

Week 2.................

Tuesday, Aug. 30
Thursday, Sept. 1

Week 3.................

Tuesday, Sept. 6
Professor in Texas. CLASS CANCELLED.
Thursday, Sept. 8
2. The Fregean Heritage-Sense and Reference

Week 4.................

Tuesday, Sept. 13
The Fregean Picture
Read: Miller, 1.4-1.6 (ignore 1.7, which is illiterate),
Miller, 2.1-2.3
Thursday, Sept. 15
Troubles in Plato's Paradise, or Problems with Sense
Read: Miller, 2.4-2.6

Week 5................

Tuesday, Sept. 20
Russell's Theory of Descriptions
Read: Miller 2.7-2.8
Thursday, Sept. 22
Continue: Russell's Theory of Descriptions
Read: Miller, 2.9-2.10
3. Logical Positivists: Verificationist Accounts of Sense

Week 6.................

Tuesday, Sept. 27
Logical Positivism
Read: Miller, Chapter 3.
Thursday, Sept. 29
Logical Positivism
Read: Miller, Chapter 3.
4. Quine: Verificationist Challenges to Sense?

Week 7.................

Tuesday, Oct. 4
Troubles in Carnap's Paradise, or More problems with Sense
Read: Miller, 4.1-4.3
Thursday, Oct. 6

Week 8.................

Tuesday, Oct. 11
Troubles in Carnap's Paradise, or More problems with Sense
Read: Miller, 4.4-4.5
Thursday, Oct. 13
Troubles in Carnap's Paradise, or More problems with Sense
Read: Miller, 4.6-4.10

Week 9.................

October 17-22 Midsemester examination period
Tuesday, Oct. 18
Some better arguments to Quinean Conclusions
Thursday, Oct.20
Read: Wilson "Predicate Meets Property" 

Week 10.................

October 23 Course scheduling for intersession, summer term and fall semester begins, 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 25
Midsemester grades due in Office of the University Registrar by noon.
Read: Putnam "Meaning Holism" 
Thursday, Oct. 27
Read: Putnam "Meaning Holism" 
5. Katz' Neo-Fregean Model of Sense

Week 11.................

Tuesday, Nov. 1
Read Dowling, 1 Interpretive Communities
Thursday, Nov. 3
Read Dowling, 2 Type and Token

Week 12.................

Tuesday, Nov. 8
Read Dowling, 3 Linguistics Naturalized


Thursday, Nov. 10
Read Dowling, 4 Chomsky's Revolution

Week 13.................

Tuesday, Nov. 15
Read Dowling, 5 The Senses of the Text
Thursday, Nov. 17
Read Dowling, Epilogue: The Metaphysics of Meaning
6. Possible Worlds Accounts of Sense

Week 14.................

Tuesday, Nov. 22
"Assertion" by Robert Stalnaker
Thursday, Nov. 24
7. Semantic Normativity and Realism/Anti-Realism

Week 15 .................

Tuesday, Nov. 29
Kripke/Wittgenstein Paradox
Read Miller Chapter 5 (look over Chapter 6)
Thursday, Dec. 1
Davidson's program
Read: Instructor's Handout on Davidson

Week 15 .................

Tuesday, Dec. 6
Read: Miller Chapter 9
Thursday, Dec. 8
Read: Instructor's Handout on Realism
Tuesday, December 13, 3:00 P.M. PAPER 7 DUE