Philosophy Of Language PHIL4028

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces students to a number of major issues in the philosophy of language. It familiarizes students with the main positions and arguments within each topic, and enables the students to deploy these arguments for themselves.


16x1hr lectures, 4x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Philosophy and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Philosophy, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses





Exam ( 2 hour duration) - 60%

Essay (2000 words) - 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:  

■ Allow students to explore a number of major issues in the Philosophy of Language; 

■ Introduce students to the main positions and arguments within each topic; 

■ Enable students to deploy these arguments in analysing the use of language in other contexts. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course


By the end of this course, students will be able to: 


■ Explain and use the following basic concepts used in mainstream contemporary philosophy of language: reference, truth, meaning, force, singular term, predicate, sentence, speech-act, indexicality; 

■ Use those basic concepts in explaining several views in mainstream contemporary philosophy of language; 

■ Critically assess the classical theories of meaning developed by Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) and Bertrand Russell (1872-1970); 

■ Critically assess objections to these theories advanced by Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam and other recent philosophers of language, along with the alternative picture advanced by figures such as Kripke and Kaplan; 

■ Critically assess the principal doctrines concerning pragmatics; 

■ Discuss critically some challenges to the classical picture, such as that advanced by W. V. Quine or Ludwig Wittgenstein. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.