Essays from my University of London BA Philosophy Studies

Philosophy of Language - [235P210]


  1. "Many sentences of English have never been uttered, and no one has ever meant anything by uttering them. Therefore their meaning cannot be determined by speaker's intentions." Discuss.

  2. Is knowing a statements truth conditions (a) necessary and (b) sufficient for knowing what it means?

  3. Can the figure of the radical interpreter cast any light on the notion of meaning?

  4. "The Gricean line of explanation [of meaning] is hence essentially no more than a sophisticated version of the code conception of language" (Dummett) Discuss.

  5. "The indeterminacy of translation is just a special case of the under-determination of theory by evidence." Discuss.

  6. Is knowing under what conditions a statement is true either necessary or sufficient for knowing what the statement means?

  7. Assess Quine's arguments for the view that there is no such thing as meaning.

  8. In what ways is the semantics of a language compositional? What reasons are there for expecting it to be?

  9. 'Kripke's so-called puzzle about beliefs actually presents us with a quandary about ascriptions of belief.' Discuss.

  10. Are the speakers of English that population amongst whom there is a convention to speak English?

  11. How much of human knowledge of language is innate?

  12. How does Grice distinguish between the semantic and pragmatic contributions to what speakers convey by their utterances? How plausible is this distinction?

  13. What basis is there if any, for distinguishing between the illocutionary and the perlocutionary acts performed by making an utterance?