Philosophy of Language: Language and the World

How does thought relate to reality? One answer is, 'Through the medium of language.' That answer, a major outcome of developments in philosophy in the 20th century, implies a necessary priority of language over thought. The nature of thought, and of truth as the mark of what thought attains when it succeeds in representing how things are can only be approached — or so it is claimed — via the analysis of the workings of language. In this course, we shall take a detached and moderately sceptical view of these developments, focusing on the ambitious claim of the philosophy of language to provide the basis for resolving many of the central problems of philosophy.

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