PHIL30070 Philosophy of Language

Academic Year 2019/2020

This module is an examination of philosophical questions concerning thought, communication, and human language. What is the nature of meaning? How do words refer to things? What is the relationship between thought and language? Theories of meaning and communication will also be applied to other important topics, like the nature of hate speech, silencing, and lying or insincerity. Language and meaning became central topics in analytic philosophy in the early 20th century, making the philosophy of language crucial to understanding basic problems in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind to this day. This course introduces students to key debates in contemporary philosophy of language, focusing on basic notions like meaning, reference, truth, speech acts, and non-literal or indirect speech (like metaphor, irony, and implicature).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course students will be familiar with key issues and debates in contemporary philosophy of language. They will have an understanding of the abstract issues relating to the intersection between language, mind and the world, of some more concrete questions of uses of language in extreme conditions of hate, prejudice and political coercion, and of howto employ methods in the philosophy of language to answer questions in other areas of philosophy.

Indicative Module Content:

The course focuses on contemporary philosophy of language in the analytic tradition

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The teaching is lecture based followed by discussions in tutorial groups. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

No prior learning is required, but an interest in language in abstraction as well as its uses in concrete social and political contexts will make the course more enjoyable

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.  
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Essay of 3000 words End of trimester MCQ n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Tutorial and lecture attendance and contribution Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: An essay of 2000 words Week 8 n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Written and oral feedback on essays provided by lecturer and tutors.

Name Role
Mark Bowker Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Liam Beggan Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Tues 14:00 - 14:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31 Mon 15:00 - 15:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31 Mon 13:00 - 13:50