This is a reading list for the Oxford finals “Logic and Language” paper. Students may wish to also consult the philosophy faculty’s reading list available through WebLearn.
Useful texts / anthologies:
- Lycan: Lycan, W. (2008). Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction. Psychology Press
- Ludlow: Ludlow, P. (ed.) (1997). Readings in the Philosophy of Language. The MIT Press
- Schwartz: Schwartz, S. (1977). Naming, necessity, and natural kinds. Ithaca ; London: Cornell University Press
I particularly recommend the textbook Philosophy of Language by Bill Lycan (Lycan), and have suggested readings from it in many cases. I would also encourage you to read the items Lycan suggests in his bibliography.
Particularly significant readings are starred (*).
1. Reference and definite descriptions
- (*) Lycan, ch. 1–2
- (*) Russell, B. (1905). On Denoting. Mind, 14(56), 479–493 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2248381
- (*) Strawson, P. (1950). On Referring. Mind, 59(235), 320–344 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2251176
- (*) Donnellan, K. (1966). Reference and Definite Descriptions. The Philosophical Review, 75(3), 281–304 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2183143
- Russell, B. (1957). Mr. Strawson on Referring. Mind, 66(263), 385–389 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2251489
Essay question: What is Russell’s theory of definite descriptions? Set out and evaluate an objection to it.
2. The description theory of proper names
- (*) Lycan, ch. 3
- (*) Frege, G. (1948). Sense and Reference. (M. Black, Trans.)The Philosophical Review, 57(3), 209–230 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2181485 (reprinted in Frege, G. (1980). Translations from the philosophical writings of Gottlob Frege (3rd ed..). Oxford: Basil Blackwell)
- Donnellan, K. (1974). Speaking of Nothing. The Philosophical Review, 83(1), 3–31 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2183871
- Searle, J. (1958). Proper Names. Mind, 67(266), 166–173 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2251108
(Note that the title of Frege’s paper “Sense and Reference” is translated in a number of different ways, sometimes as “Sense and Meaning” or “Sense and Nominatum”).
Essay question: Does every name have the same meaning as some definite description?
3. Opaque contexts and belief attributions
- re-read the Frege reading from last time
- (*) Quine, W. V. (1956). Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes. The Journal of Philosophy, 53(5), 177–187 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2022451
- (*) Quine, Willard Van Orman (1964). Word and Object. MIT Press, pp. 138-156 (reprinted in Ludlow)
- (*) Davidson, D. (1968). On Saying That. Synthese, 19(1/2), 130–146 http://www.jstor.org/stable/20114635 (reprinted in Ludlow)
- (*) Kripke, Saul A. (1979). A Puzzle about Belief. In A. Margalit (Ed.), Meaning and Use (Vol. 3, pp. 239–283). Springer Netherlands http://www.springerlink.com/content/p3522rg026m811v5/abstract/ (reprinted in Ludlow)
- Saul, J. (2010). Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions. Oxford University Press
Essay question: Does the existence of opaque contexts show that there must be more to the meaning of a name than its referent?
4. Rigid designation and the Causal Theory of Reference
- (*) Lycan, ch. 4
- (*) Kripke, Saul A. (1980). Naming and necessity. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, lecture 2
- (*) Evans, G. (1973). The Causal Theory of Names. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 47, 187–208 http://www.jstor.org/stable/4106912
- (*) Putnam, H. (1973). Meaning and Reference. The Journal of Philosophy, 70(19), 699–711 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2025079
Essay question: Does the “Twin Earth” case show that meaning “ain’t in the head”? OR What is the causal theory of reference? Assess an objection to it.
5. Sentence meaning
- (*) Lycan, ch. 7-10
- Grice, H. (1957). Meaning. The Philosophical Review, 66(3), 377–388 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2182440 (reprinted in Grice, P. (1989). Studies in the way of words. Harvard Univ Pr)
- Grice, H. (1968). Utterer's Meaning, Sentence-Meaning, and Word-Meaning. Foundations of Language, 4(3), 225–242 http://www.jstor.org/stable/25000329 (reprinted in Grice, P. (1989). Studies in the way of words. Harvard Univ Pr)
- Lewis, David (1970). General Semantics. Synthese, 22(1/2), 18–67 http://www.jstor.org/stable/20114749 (reprinted in Lewis, David K. (1983). Philosophical Papers. Oxford University Press, USA, volume 1)
Essay question: How does Grice propose to reduce sentence-meaning to speaker-meaning? Does he succeed? OR Is it plausible that the meaning of a sentence is the circumstances under which it is true?
- (*) Frege, G. (1956). The Thought: A Logical Inquiry. (A. Quinton & M. Quinton, Trans.)Mind, 65(259), 289–311 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2251513
- (*) Perry, J. (1977). Frege on Demonstratives. The Philosophical Review, 86(4), 474–497 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2184564
- (*) Kaplan, D. (1989). Demonstratives. In J. Almog, D. Kaplan, J. Perry, & H. Wettstein (Eds.), Themes from Kaplan. New York ; Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Lewis, David K. (David Kellogg) (1998). Index, context, and content. In Papers in philosophical logic (pp. 21–44). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Braun, D. “Indexicals”. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/indexicals/
Essay question: On Tuesday, A says “Today is Tuesday”; the next day, A says “Yesterday was Tuesday”. In what sense, if any, do A’s two utterances have the same meaning, and in what sense, if any, do they have a different meaning?
7. Implicature (and conditionals)
- (*) Lycan, ch. 13
- (*) Grice, P. (1989). Logic and conversation. In Studies in the way of words (pp. 22–40). Harvard Univ Pr
- (*) Bach, K. (1999). The Myth of Conventional Implicature. Linguistics and Philosophy, 22(4), 327–366 http://www.jstor.org/stable/25001747
- Jonathan Francis Bennett (2003). A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals. Oxford University Press, USA, esp ch 2
- Davis, W. “Implicature”. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/implicature/
Essay question: What is implicature, and what is the difference between conversational and conventional implicatures? OR “A conditional is true iff either its antecedent is false or its consequent true.” Does conversational implicature help this theory to resist objections?
8. The Liar paradox
- (*) Tarski, A. (1944). The Semantic Conception of Truth: and the Foundations of Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 4(3), 341–376 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2102968
- (*) Soames, S. (1999). Understanding truth. New York ; Oxford: Oxford University Press http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0195123352.001.0001/acprof-9780195123357, ch 5.
- (*) Kripke, Saul (1975). Outline of a Theory of Truth. The Journal of Philosophy, 72(19), 690–716 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2024634
- () Priest. “Dialetheism”. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy* http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dialetheism/
- Priest, G. (1979). The Logic of Paradox. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 8(1), 219–241 http://www.jstor.org/stable/30227165
- Glanzberg, M. (2001–01AD). The Liar in Context. Philosophical Studies, 103(3), 217–251 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1010314719817
- Beall and Glanzberg. “Liar Paradox”. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liar-paradox/
Essay question: What is the Liar paradox, and what is the best way to resolve it?
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