March 30, 2022

PHIL 312: Philosophy of Language - Fall 2022

J. Odenbaugh PHIL 312 Philosophy of Language, Jay Odenbaugh

I graduated with a PhD in philosophy from the University of Calgary in 2001. My research interests include the history and philosophy of science (especially ecology and evolution), metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics. In the history of philosophy, I am especially fascinated by the American pragmatists and their descendants.

Course Description:

In the philosophy of language, we consider traditional topics like the semantics of proper names and natural kind terms. For example, some have thought the meaning of a name is what it refers to, but what then could fictional names mean? After all, they concern things that do not exist! We also examine whether there are right interpretations of utterances or are they always indeterminate? Does what we say and write have determinate meanings after all? We also will explore the role of a speaker’s intentions in determining the meaning of what is said. Do you have control over what your words even mean? Likewise, what sorts of actions do we perform in language? Last, we apply what we have learned to “bad language” such as slurs and hate speech. We do far more in language than convey information – after all, saying “I do” in the right context can change your life.