Language, Self and Other

Subject PHIL20042 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 1-hour lectures each week for 12 weeks and 1-hour tutorial for 11 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

One of the following subjects is recommended but not required:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Laura Schroeter


Dr Laura Schroeter

Subject Overview:

Language allows us to communicate with others, and it helps to scaffold our own thoughts. This subject provides an overview of some central debates in the philosophy of language about the role of language in thought and in social coordination. We’ll consider key philosophical questions about language such as: How is linguistic communication possible? How do symbols acquire their meanings? How can social and physical context affect what someone’s words mean? And what’s the nature of metaphorical meaning? Major authors to be discussed include: Locke, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Austin, Grice, Searle, Kripke, Kaplan, Lewis, Davidson, and Chomsky.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • possess a broad knowledge and understanding of issues in the contemporary philosophy of language concerning the meanings of words and how they are used. In particular, familiarity with naming, descriptions, attitude reports, context-dependence, speech acts, implicature;
  • learn to engage critically with existing philosophical conversations about the nature of linguistic representation and develop the capacity for critical and creative interventions in those discussions;
  • learn to apply the philosophical theories of language to the analysis of metaphor, slurs and derogatory speech acts;
  • develop an appreciation of the larger role of word meaning in structuring scientific understanding and debate, and the role of speech acts in structuring social institutions and interactions;
  • demonstrate a high-level of fluency in communication and collaboration skills, including oral and written presentation of arguments and effective work in small and large groups;
  • be prepared to engage with the possibility of radical critique of critique of their own presuppositions and commitments about the nature or linguistic representation and communication.

Two 1000 word assignments 25% each, (due week 5 and week 9) and a final paper 2000 words 50% (due in the examination period)

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After 5 working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Philosophy
Philosophy Major

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