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Meaning and Communication (PH130-6)


This module has been discontinued from 2017-18.


This module introduces some issues in the philosophy language by considering relations between logic, meaning and communication by considering the question: What makes communication by language possible?


At the end of the module students will have a basic understanding of a number of key concepts in the philosophy of language including: the systematicity and productivity of utterances and the idea that language is compositional, the distinction between sentence meaning and speaker meaning, Grice’s account of conversational implicature.


In this module students must attend 2 hours of lectures per week and 1 hour of seminars for the first 5 weeks of term. Seminars will run from week 2 to 5.

Lectures for 2016-17
  • Tuesdays 1pm to 2pm in L5
  • Thursdays 1pm to 2pm in L5
Seminars for 2016-17

Seminars begin in week 2.

Please sign up for a seminar group at the end of term 2 using Tabula.


This module can be assessed in the following ways:

  • 100% examination

In addition for the seminars in weeks 3 and 5, a 1,000 word essay is assigned. You may not attend these seminars unless you have handed in the essay for that seminar. Students are required to submit their short essay directly to the seminar tutor (via email) by 1pm the day before the seminar.


This module is based on Paul Grice's book Studies in the Way of Words (Harvard University Press, 1989). The best text on issues in the philosophy of language relevant to this module is Reading Philosophy of Language edited by Jennifer Hornsby and Guy Longworth (Blackwell, 2006).

Student taking this course are strongly advised to acquire and read relevant chapters from both books, Studies in the Way of Words and Reading Philosophy of Language. For more information, please see course materials.


From October 2016 course materials will be available on Moodle. Simply sign in and select the module from your Moodle home page.

Please note you must be regisitered for the module on eMR in order to access the relevant page.