| Monday 2:00PM to 4:30PM
This course has two connected parts: Dimensions of Meaning: When a speaker utters a declarative sentence she asserts a proposition – she puts forward a claim about how things are. Often, though, she does more than that. Think of the difference, for example, between asserting "Helen won a prestigious award” and "Even Helen won a prestigious award”. In some sense, the two utterances assert the same thing. But they clearly differ along some important dimension of meaning. Philosophers and linguists have identified several different dimensions along which meaning can exceed the proposition asserted – conversational implicature, conventional implicature, and presupposition, being the most commonly identified dimensions. In this section of the course we will examine the motivation for introducing these distinct dimensions, the standard accounts of these dimensions, and challenges for the standard accounts. Slurs and Derogation: Slurs, as a class of words, and derogation, as a kind of speech-act, are linguistic phenomena which encode, reflect, and contribute to the oppression of marginalized groups. It has been suggested that the tools of philosophy of language and linguistics can shed light on what is distinctive - and what is distinctively damaging and dangerous - about slurs and derogation. Much of the debate has focused on whether, and where, to place the negative content of slurs along the dimensions of meaning discussed in the first half of the course. In this section of the course, we will survey the contemporary debate about the linguistic properties of slurs and derogatory language.