PHIL 314 Topics in Logic I:
Natural language and the language of logic

Fall Semester 2011|Day


INSTRUCTOR  Ray Jennings, WMX 5650



  • Readings will be provided either as pdf files or as photocopies. Lecture transparencies will be distributed.



It is somewheres claimed that the vocabulary of formal logic is a more exact version of that of natural language; elsewhere that the former is a pure mathematical invention. This seminar will raise (and answer) the question as to where natural language logical vocabulary (what Russell called "secondary language") comes from and how well we understand it. Our inquiries will raise wider questions about the nature of human language more generally, and the correct methods for understanding and studying it. Although the course title suggests a narrowness and technicality of subject matter, our exploration will very readily be seen to have extremely broad ramifications for our understanding of humanity in general and of the nature of philosophy more particularly.



  • Preparation of and participation in class discussion  - 30%
  • Term paper with coaching and critical participation of the instructor  - 70%


Note: Prerequisite :Recommended: PHIL 210, 214, or an otherwise suitable background. Familiarity with the standard truth-table accounts of connectives would be a help. Curiosity about the nature of language is a must.