Fall 2017 - PHIL 806 G100

Selected Topics in Philosophy of Language (5)

Semantics and Pragmatics

Class Number: 7621

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM
    AQ 5004, Burnaby



Selected Topics:  Semantics & Pragmatics

[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 467W.]

Important note regarding enrollment: instructor consent is required for all students apart from Philosophy graduate students. 

The first half of this class will serve as an advanced introduction to Philosophy of Language, through the lens of the semantics-pragmatics distinction (roughly, the distinction between the meanings of word or sentences and their uses in context). In this section, we will be reading from a number of classic sources, including Frege, Austin, and Grice, in addition to studying more contemporary approaches, such as semantic minimalism and Relevance Theory. In the other half of the class, we will seek to apply these theoretical reflections to concrete issues: in particular, we will attempt to determine to what extent the semantics-pragmatics distinction can help shed light on issues such as lying, misleading, insinuation, bullshit, propaganda, hate speech, etc.


  • Weekly Discussion questions (submitted prior to class) and in-class participation 15%
  • Final term paper, with revisions 80%
  • Provision of peer feedback on term paper drafts 5%
  • One in-class presentation on a reading - PASS / FAIL



All materials will be made available by the instructor.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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