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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Formal Semantics for Philosophers MSc (PHIL11118)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPhilosophy Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionFormal semantics is a subfield of linguistics and philosophy of language that aims at constructing a formalanalysis of meaning. More specifically, formal semanticists generally attempt to construct a systematic method for recursively and compositionally deriving the truth conditions of natural language sentences.
Formal semantics is now an essential part of the philosophy of language and often has wide-reaching impact in other philosophical areas such as (formal) epistemology, logic, philosophy of mind, and metaethics.
Since a number of sophisticated mathematical and logical tools are used in formal semantics, this course is intended as an introduction to these tools as well as the underlying methodology. We will focus on three general, but complex, issues, namely:
I. Restricted/Generalized Quantifiers (Quantificational Determiner Phrases).
II. Free vs. Bound Variables (Pronouns).
III. Index-Shifting (Intensional Operators).

Formal Semantics for Philosophers MSc is also shared with the undergraduate version Formal Semantics for Philosophers (PHIL10137).

Taught by Dr Anders Schoubye

Formative feedback;
- opportunity to submit a formative essay on Learn by week 6 deadline (Monday 24th February, 12 noon)
- students will be asked to meet with the course organiser to discuss a draft of their paper
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Logic 1 (PHIL08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  5
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
- A general understanding of various formal tools used in formal semantics.
(basic generative syntax, type driven interpretations, lambda abstraction, variable assignments, binding, etc.)
- A general understanding of important methodological principles.
(compositionality, recursion, syntax-semantic correspondence.)
- An ability to compositionally derive the truth conditions of simple natural language sentences.
- An understanding of (a few) complex issues widely discussed in philosophy of language and semantics.
(the semantics of: quantificational determiner phrases, pronouns, modals, attitude verbs, and conditionals)
Assessment Information
One 2500 word essay.

Assignment deadline: Monday 14th April 2014 by 12 noon
Word limit: 2500 words maximum
Return deadline: Tuesday 6th May 2014
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus 1. Formal Foundations
2. Syntax--Semantics
3. Predicates, Modifiers, and Descriptions
4. Relative Clauses, Variables, and Variable Binding
5. Generalized Quantifiers I
6. Generalized Quantifiers II
7. Bound and Referential Pronouns
8. Donkey Anaphora and E-Type Pronouns
9. From Extensional to Intensional Semantics
10. Intensional Semantics
11. Conditionals, Orderings, and DPs in Modal Contexts
Transferable skills An understanding of, and competence with, various formal tools that are used in a number of other areas of philosophy and linguistics.
Reading list von Fintel, Kai and Heim, Irene 2007. ''Intensional Semantics''. Unpublished ms.
Glanzberg, Michael 2006. ''Quantifiers''. In Lepore, Ernest and Smith, Barry C. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook
of Philosophy of Language, chap. 31. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 794¿822.
Heim, Irene and Kratzer, Angelika 1998. ''Semantics in Generative Grammar''. Blackwell Publishing.
Kaplan, David 1989. ''Demonstratives''. In Almog, Joseph, Perry, John and Wettstein, Howard (eds.) Themes
From Kaplan. Oxford University Press.
Lewis, David 1980. ''Index, Context, and Content''. In Kanger, Stig and Öhman, Sven (eds.) Philosophy and Grammar. D. Reidel Publishing Company.
McCawley, James D. 1993. ''Everything that Linguists have Always Wanted to Know about Logic ... But Were
Ashamed to Ask.'' 2nd edn. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Neale, Stephen 1990. ''Descriptive Pronouns and Donkey Anaphora''. The Journal of Philosophy, LXXXVII, 3:113¿150.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Anders Schoubye
Course secretaryMiss Lynsey Buchanan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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