24.729 Topics in Philosophy of Language: Modeling Representation

As taught in: Spring 2009

An image of a woman sitting in a black and white room.

Frank Jackson's thought experiment about the knowledge argument involves a scientist raised in a monochrome environment. When she sees color for the first time, does she acquire novel information about the world? (Image by truu on Flickr.)




Prof. Agustín Rayo

Course Description

The seminar will be devoted to understanding what we're up to when we ascribe contents to a person's assertions and mental attitudes. We seek to make clear the rules of the game for the philosophy of language. We'll survey classic discussions of the issue by Field, Lewis and Stalnaker. But much of the emphasis of the class will be on getting clear about the limitations of our theoretical tools. I'd like to focus on places where our theorizing runs into trouble, or breaks down altogether.