PHI-30029 - Philosophy of Language
Coordinator: Sophie Allen Tel: +44 1782 7 33364
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

Language is central to how we investigate the world, and to how we relate to others and ourselves. How does language work? How do we use it to communicate with? This module explores some of the central philosophical questions about language, including: problems of meaning and reference; theories of meaning; the relationship between meaning and truth; the relationship between language and the world; whether there are such things as meanings and what type of things these are; how language and thought are related; how speakers are involved in the process of communication; and theories about what language is.

The module aims to introduce students to the philosophy of language without presupposing knowledge of logic or linguistics.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

demonstrate good understanding of the fundamental concepts and issues in the philosophy of language: 1,2
reflect independently on the topics examined in the module and present their own views: 1,2
focus research on some aspects of a significant question and articulate an informed and critical answer: 1
write clearly and concisely on a number of key issues in the field: 2
show awareness of the distinctive subject and questions discussed in the philosophy of language: 1,2
be able to note connections between issues in this module and other areas of philosophy studied, and be able to draw out the implications which different philosophical positions on these issues will have: 1
explain technical examples clearly using appropriate language and logical form when necessary: 1,2
be able to infer and to explain the implications which different views have for accounts of what communication involves: 1
analyse and evaluate the main positions on the key debates in the field: 1

Study hours

Lectures: 10 hours
Seminars: 10 hours
Seminar preparation: 40 hours
Examples Preparation: 30 hours
Long essay preparation: 60 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 67%
A 2,500-word essay
Students will write a 2,500-word essay on a topic relating to the course. They will be strongly encouraged to prepare an essay plan and to consult their tutor about it in order to make sure that they are working on the right lines.

2: Exercise weighted 33%
1 x Set of Examples on Seminar Topics (1000 words total)
A list of key arguments in the debate will also be issued at the start of the module. At the end of five seminars students will submit a list of their own examples which can be used to illustrate or support these key arguments.