PHIL 806: Selected Topics in Philosophy of Language

Spring Semester 2013 | Evening | Vancouver


INSTRUCTOR: E. Begby, WMC 5653 (


This course will be devoted to exploring different dimensions of the relation between language and thought (including cognitive abilities more broadly). We will consider questions such as whether thought requires language, the relation between one’s internal Language of Thought and one’s public language, and whether linguistic variation correlates in interesting ways with cognitive variation (i.e., “linguistic relativism”). There is also a good chance we will spend some time considering the cognitive and communicative abilities of language-deprived humans and higher animals. While our guiding interests will be firmly philosophical, we will also try to gain a sense of the sorts of empirical evidence that bears on these questions. Thus, we might also be reading a fair bit of material from psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science.


  • None


  • Participation (including submission of two discussion questions every week) - 25%
  • Either
    • Two medium length papers (10 pp. each) - 35% + 40%
    • One full length research paper (20 pp.) - 75%