Assignments

Assignment One: Comprehension Exercise

10% of grade
Due in week four

Consider the paragraph in ‘On Sense and Reference’ which starts “It may be tempting to regard the relation of a proposition to the True not as that of sense to reference, but as that of subject to predicate” (pp. 202-3 in Martinich)

1. In your own words, explain what Frege is saying here. Give what background is necessary to make sense of his concerns. You should devote around two pages to this task.

2. Say, very briefly, whether you think that Frege’s comments here are satisfactory. If you have a concrete objection, present it concisely. (If you have more than one, just give what you take to be the most decisive.) Don’t devote more than a page to this task.

Assignment Two: Critical Note

10% of grade
Due in week eight

In the third lecture of Naming and Necessity, Kripke argues that his account of the semantics of singular and natural kind terms shows the falsity of the identity theory of mental states.

The task for this assignment is to outline Kripke’s argument, and to critically assess it. As before, you have around three pages (up to 1200 words). But this time the focus of your discussion should be on the criticism. If you can, take it one stage further: consider how Kripke might respond to your initial criticism, and how you might counter that.

You may concentrate on either the token-token identity theory, or the type-type identity theory; you do not need to discuss both.

Assignment Three: Short Paper

40% of grade
Due in week twelve

Papers should be around eight pages (3000-4000 words) long. I have given a list of readings for each paper, but there is, of course, much more available. See me if you want more readings on specific topics.

1. Was Russell right to think that definite descriptions are quantifying expressions? How do they differ from names?

Russell. “On Denoting.”
Strawson. “On Referring.”
Kripke. _Naming and Necessity.
_Neale. Descriptions.

2. Has Quine showed that there is something wrong with analyticity? Do his criticisms extend to necessity and a priority?

Quine. “Three Dogmas of Empiricism.”
Hookway. _Quine.
_Kripke. Naming and Necessity.

3. Can any useful notion of sense be salvaged from Kripke’s criticisms?

Frege. “On Sense and Reference.”
Kripke. Naming and Necessity.

4. Can Kripke’s account of singular terms be extended to natural kind terms in the way that he envisions?

Kripke. Naming and Necessity.
Soames, S. Beyond Rigidity
: The Unfinished Agenda of Naming and Necessity.

5. Is there good reason for believing in a referential/attributive distinction? If so, what is it a distinction between?

Donnellan. “Reference and Definite Descriptions.”

Kripke. ‘Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference’

Grice. “Logic and Conversation.”

6. What are presuppositions? What happens when they are not met?

Lewis. “Scorekeeping in a Language Game.”
Von Fintel. “Would you Believe it? The King of France is Back!”
Yablo. “Non-Catastrophic Presupposition Failure.”

7. Can speech act theory help us with an understanding of pornography?

Langton. “Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts.”
Langton and West. “Scorekeeping in a Pornographic Language Game.”
Jacobson, D. “Freedom of Speech Acts? A Response to Langton.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (1995).
Bird, Alexander. “Illocutionary Silencing.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83(2002): 1-15.

Assignment Four: Short Paper

40% of grade
due in week fifteen

Students either answered a second question from Assignment Three, or the professor gave them an independent question tailored to their interests.

Course Info

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