Phil 546

Topics in the Philosophy of Language

Our Final Meeting

The people have spoken. Our final meeting will be devoted to some of Barbara Partee’s work. See you all Wednesday!

Update on This Week’s Readings

I have made a small adjustment to our reading schedule. In addition to Pietroski’s paper, we will be talking about Agustín Rayo’s ‘Vague Representation’.

If you can only read one of the papers, please read Rayo’s. Pietroski’s paper gives a useful overview of some of the issues we discussed last week, so I strongly recommend you read it as well.

This Coming Week

I’ve posted the readings for this coming week. There is a fair bit of material there, so I thought I’d give you some directions. Focus mostly on Dummett’s article. Louise’s paper will help guide some of the discussion of this week and the next, so don’t worry if you can’t read all of it for this week.

If you have never read the Davidson, you may at least want to take a look at the section titled “Meaning and Truth” in the “Stanford Encyclopedia” entry on Davidson.

Readings for Coming Week

I’ve updated the reading schedule to include the readings for this coming week. Let me know if you have any difficulties accessing any of the two papers.

Also, you may remember from the syllabus that you are supposed to turn in three short papers before the end of the semester (unless you want to get seminar credit, in which case you will need to write a short paper and a term paper). Do keep that in mind as the semester comes to an end!


Next week, we’ll be discussing Stalnaker’s paper “Assertion”. I’ve added the pdf to our Moodle site and updated the readings page accordingly.

Next Meeting

There is no reading response due this week. As for what to read, make sure to re-read Grice. I will post some optional additional readings later today.

This Week

This week we will discuss what we were supposed to do last week, i.e. Russell and Strawson. I will update the reading schedule so as to reflect last week’s snow day.


Reponse pieces need not address the question, if any, I post on Moodle. Think of those questions merely as suggestions for what to focus on. Remember, the point of these response pieces is to help you organize your thoughts on the readings and to help me notice any common misunderstandings or any issues worth going over in detail during our meeting.

Response Pieces

I’ve created a space on this our Moodle site for you to submit your first reponse piece, which is due on Tuesday by 3pm.

I encourage you to keep things simple. Use plain text, don’t get fancy.


This is the website for PHIL 546 at UMass Amherst. Announcements, readings, and other relevant information will be posted here. If you are enrolled in this class, you should be checking this website regularly, as well as the course calendar.

For your convenience, I have set up a mailing list for this course. I encourage you to subscribe in order to be notified of announcements on this site. Note, however, that you will only be notified of updates to the site once a day. (If there are no new updates on a given day, you will receive no emails.)