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PHIL 3332 Philosophy of Language

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    Always Do the Reading

    Background Knowledge Expected

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    • Profile picture
    Jan 05, 2017
    | Would highly recommend.

    Not too easy. Not too difficult.

    Course Overview:

    Despite the density and analytic complexity of most of the material, this class is presented in a clear and concise manner, and the content itself really helps open doors of thought regarding how people use language, why they use language, and what words, phrases, and predicates really mean. Some of the content goes so far to even explain why some phrases or predicates are meaningless, and how many quantifying predicates are actually vague. The instructor is also very friendly and open to entertaining multiple questions and argumentative perspectives regarding the subject. He is patient, humorous, and encourages practiced/experienced students to help contribute to his lectures for an overall collective effort to understand the concepts.

    Course highlights:

    Ultimately, what I gained were new approaches in interpreting language or speech itself. When people talk, I don't look or listen quite the same way. Not to confuse this class with a speech class, it is more concerned with logic and the discovery of meaning, not "how" to address people or synthesizing psychology data in using language. Specifically, I found the problem of vagueness to be interesting, in where many predicates such as "some" or "many" are so vague in that they lack an accurate number or count. Thinking about this and exploring the solutions is the last part of the class, but what I found to be the most interesting.

    Hours per week:

    3-5 hours

    Advice for students:

    Keep up with the readings, and look at the lectures before class starts. This is to help keep the ideas fresh in your mind when you walk into class so you can ask more thoughtful questions. Every week there is a free response question, so the readings have to be done before that is written as they are asking about the readings. I guess the real advice is just to read, keep up, and ask questions because some of the content gets dense and dizzy. Also an understanding of basic logic is incredibly helpful in grasping the subjects because many of the philosophers use logic as a way of making sense of everyday language, so terms like "tautology", "contingency", "valid/invalid", "sound/unsound", and such are thrown around expecting to already be known. Although it's not required to take it, you might want to take logic at least in the same semester as the class as they complement each other.

    • Fall 2016
    • CameronBuckner
    • Background Knowledge Expected Always Do the Reading Great Discussions

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