Fall 2019 - PHIL 344 D100

Philosophy of Language (3)

Class Number: 4768

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Either one of: PHIL 201 or 203; or both of PHIL 100W (or equivalent) and COGS 200.



An introduction to the major philosophic theories of language. Topics to be considered include the relationship between language and mind, language and the world, language and society.


Philosophers have always known that the study of language is central to their endeavours.  On a common account of what we do, the focus of our inquiry are concepts or meanings, that is the sort of thing words express.   The philosophical study of language and its importance in the philosophical enterprise was revolutionized by the work of the German philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege in the late 19th century.  His work inspired both an astounding flowering of a certain way of studying language (and reactions to it), and the philosophical tradition – that of analytic philosophy – which we find ourselves in.  

The Fregean legacy in the philosophy of language continues to inform the way philosophy is done. To understand contemporary debates in ethics, epistemology, philosophy science, feminist philosophy, etc. one often needs to have a solid grasp of the concepts and techniques developed in the 100 years following Frege’s seminal work.

The main purpose of this course, then, will be to provide some of this grounding.


  • Midterm exam 20%
  • Paper: 5-6 pages 40%
  • In-class exam 40%



 Reading materials will be supplied by instructor.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html