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Language & Mind - PHI00030M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Stephen Everson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19
    • See module specification for other years: 2017-18

Module summary

We shall be looking at work by Frege, as well as by Strawson, Davidson, Dummet and John McDowell.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

  • Critically to examine topics that sit at the intersection of Philosophy of Language and Mind
  • Centrally, to focus on what account is to be given of a speaker's ability to understand a language and to look at such topics as truth (and theories of truth), reference, and sense.
  • To provide a grounding for independent research into the Philosophy of Language and Mind
  • To develop students' abilities to understand, analyse, and evaluate complex abstract questions
  • To develop students' abilities to communicate complex abstract ideas in discussion and writing

Module learning outcomes

  • Students should be able to display a deep and systematic understanding of various accounts of central topics in the areas of Language and Mind that have figured in work that is at the forefront of current research in the area, and this will provide students with a solid grounding for further independent research on related topics.
  • Students should be able to analyse complex areas of knowledge, displaying critical awareness; synthesise information and ideas from a variety of sources at the forefront of the discipline; evaluate research critically; and show originality in the discussion and application of ideas from the philosophical literature in developing their own arguments.
  • Students should show the ability to work autonomously and self-critically on an extended essay that goes beyond the core framework that is provided in lectures and seminars.

Module content

We shall be looking at work by Frege, as well as by Strawson, Davidson, Dummet and John McDowell.

Students attend relevant undergraduate seminars (which are research-led) to provide a background in the general area of research, while working with the module convener over the course of the term to define and develop a topic for independent research, on which they will write their assessed essay, which they will work on in parallel with the lecture/seminar course. They will be expected to produce a topic proposal and reading list by week 7, and a plan for their essay by week 10, and will have a minimum of two meetings with the module convener to discuss ideas for an essay topic (before producing the proposal) and to discuss the essay plan (on production of the plan). These meetings are an absolute minimum, and it is expected that in practice students will make use of staff office hours regularly throughout the term to discuss their project with the module convener. Module conveners may also choose to provide feedback on the essay proposal and reading list in person in a further one-to-one meeting, or to meet MA students as a group at the start of term to discuss the subject area and suggest topics for independent research.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 4000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 4000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • Students will receive written or verbal feedback on the essay proposal and reading list at least two weeks after they submit it.
  • Students will meet their module tutor in week 10 to discuss their essay plan in person.
  • Students will receive feedback on the 4000 word summative assessment and reassessment four weeks after they submit it.

Indicative reading

Donald Davidson, Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation

Michael Dummett, The Seas of Language

John McDowell, Meaning, Knowledge, and Reality

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.