Language, Self and Other

Subject PHIL20042 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 35 hours - 2 x1 hour lectures each week and 1 x 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: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


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, due week 5 and week 9 (25% each)
  • A final paper of 2000 words, due in the end of semester examination period (50%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

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: htt
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - Philosophy
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Philosophy
Philosophy Major

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