Philosophy 290-4

Fall 2006

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-4 Meaning, Understanding, and the Attribution of Attitudes Stroud Tu 4-6 234 Moses

A seminar devoted to discussion of the questions:

What is involved in (a) a person’s meaning something determinate by an expression? (b) a person’s understanding an expression in a determinate way? (c) our attributing such a meaning or understanding to someone?

The goal is to explore the capacities for meaning and understanding that we implicitly attribute to those to whom we attribute propositional and other attitudes. A large part of the seminar (as much as is needed) will be devoted to detailed discussion of most of Saul Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Close reading of that book will be presupposed. Other readings will be drawn from some of the many responses to that book and from elsewhere.

The intention of the seminar is to carry on a general, focussed discussion of these questions and their implications wherever they seem interesting. Active participation by all those in attendance is expected. Suggestions of topics to be discussed, or presentations suggested by participants, are welcome. There is no fixed agenda for the seminar. These issues have been at the center of much philosophical discussion for some years, and this seminar is an opportunity to discuss them as things stand now.

Required reading: Saul A. Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Harvard University Press, 1982