Philosophy 1760: Syllabus

Please note that most of the published material is available only to enrolled students. Links to publicly accessible copies are included where possible.

To view the PDFs, you will of course need a PDF reader. For the DjVu files, you will need a DjVu reader. Browser plugins for Windows and Mac OSX are available from Celartem; Linux users can likely just install the djviewlibre package using their distro's package management system. A list of other DjVu resources is maintained at Why DjVu? Because DjVu is a file format specifically designed for scanned text: The DjVu encoder produces files that are typically much smaller than the corresponding PDFs. For example, the PDF for Russell's "On Denoting" is 1.5 MB; the DJVU, which was created from the PDF, is 278 KB, over five times smaller! The contrast for the Donnellan paper is even greater. The PDF is 2.3 MB; the DJVU is 313 KB, reduction of over seven times.

Another advantage to the DJVUs, at least as I've made them, is that they are two-to-a-page, which saves paper. But note: When printing these files, make sure you print them in the correct mode: 'landscape' or 'portrait'. In particular, two-to-a-page scanned pages should be printed in landscape mode, so that they come out the way they were photocopied. You will get very small text and a lot of blank paper if you print them portrait.

21 January Introductory Meeting
23, 26, 28 January

Gottlob Frege, "On Sense and Meaning", in his Collected Papers, ed. by B. McGuiness, tr. by M. Black and P. Geach (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984), pp. 157-77 (DJVU).

An earlier translation is available from JSTOR.

Other relevant papers of Frege's are "On Concept and Object" (DJVU) and "Function and Concept" (DJVU), as well as Part I of his Basic Laws of Arithmetic.

30 January Discussion
2 February

Gottlob Frege, "Comments on Sense and Meaning", in his Philosophical and Mathematical Correspondence, ed. by G. Gabriel, et al., tr. by H. Kall (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 118-25 (DJVU).

4 February

Bertrand Russell, "On Denoting", Mind 14 (1905), pp. 479-93 (DJVU, JSTOR).

An excellent resource for questions about descriptions is Stephen Neale, Descriptions, which covers an enormous amount of material. Russell also discussion description in Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy.

6 February Discussion

9 February

Bertrand Russell, "Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description", in Logical and Philosophical Papers, 1909-13, ed. by J. G. Slater (New York: Routledge), pp. 148-61 (DJVU)

Russell also discusses these issues further in Problems in Philosophy and "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism".

11 February

P.F. Strawson, "On Referring", Mind 59 (1950), pp. 320-44 (DJVU, JSTOR); and Bertrand Russell, "Mr. Strawson on Referring", Mind 66 (1957), pp. 385-89 (DJVU, JSTOR).

There are general issues here about presupposition' and other pragmatic phenomena. There is a good collection of papers on these matter entitled Pragmatics.

13 February


Topics for first short paper distributed

16 February No Class: Presidents' Day Holiday
18 February

Keith Donnellan, "Reference and Definite Descriptions", Philosophical Review 75 (1966), pp. 281-304 (DJVU, JSTOR)

20 February

Saul Kripke, "Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference", Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1977), pp. 255-76 (DJVU)

See also the discussion in Neale's Descriptions. There is now a very large literature on these issues.

First short paper due

23 February

John Searle, "Proper Names", Mind 67 (1958), pp. 166-73 (DJVU, JSTOR)

25 February


27 February

A Very Short Introduction to Modal Logic

2 and 4 March

Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity, Lecture I

6 March


9 March

David Kaplan, "Dthat", in P. Cole, ed., Pragmatics (New York: Academic Press, 1978), pp. 221-43 (DJVU)

See also Kaplan's classic paper "Demonstratives".

11 March

Jason Stanley, "Modality and What Is Said" (PDF)

See also Gareth Evans, "Reference and Contingency"; Michael Dummett, Frege: Philosophy of Language, Appendix to Ch. 5; Jason Stanley, "Rigidity and Content"; Scott Soames, "Wide Scope and Rigid Designation". For some formal considerations, see Martin Davies and Lloyd Humberstone, "Two Notions of Necessity".

13 March


Topics for second short paper distributed

16 and 18 March

Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity, Lecture II


20 March


Second short paper due

23-27 March

No Class: Spring Break

30 March and 1 April

Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity, Lecture II

3 and 6 April

Hilary Putnam, "The Meaning of 'Meaning'", in his Mind, Language, and Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), pp. 215-71; you need only read up to p. 235 (DJVU)

8 and 10 April

Tyler Burge, "Individualism and the Mental", Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1979), pp. 73-121; you should concentrate primarily on pp. 73-103 (DJVU)

See also Michael Dummett, "The Social Character of Language".

13 April

Jerry Fodor, "Methodological Solipsism Considered as a Research Strategy in Cognitive Psychology", in Representations, pp. 225-53 (DJVU)

15 April

Gabriel Segal, A Slim Book about Narrow Content, Chs. 1-2

17 April

Gabriel Segal, A Slim Book about Narrow Content, Ch. 3

Topics for third short paper distributed (undergrads only)

20 April

Gabriel Segal, A Slim Book about Narrow Content, Ch. 4

22 April

Gabriel Segal, A Slim Book about Narrow Content, Ch. 5

24 April

Robert Stalnaker, "Twin Earth Revisited", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 93 (1993), pp. 297-311 (PDF, JSTOR)

Third short paper due

Richard Heck Department of Philosophy Brown University

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