Philosophy of Language

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Philosophy has at all times been concerned with the question of what role language plays for knowledge, for grounding and for how we perceive the world around us. Recently, questions about linguistic meaning and reference and about the relation between language, communication, logic, thinking, experience and fiction have been central issues. Since the beginning of the last century, many have also seen linguistic analysis as the basic method of philosophy. Thus, it is essential to be conversant with modern philosophy of language in order to orientate oneself in contemporary philosophy.

FIL245 will give students an overview of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in philosophy of language. The main focus is on issues in contemporary philosophy, but it will often be relevant to start from philosophical works and positions from older times.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the students will be able to convey central theories and problems within the philosophy of language and see the relevance of these in other contexts. The course will provide a basis for further studies in philosophy at bachelor level.


After completing the course, the students will have a good knowledge of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in modern philosophy of language.


After completing the course, the students should be knowledgable of and be able to convey insight into basic problems and arguments within the philosophy of language in different contexts.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Fall in odd year

Place of Instruction

Recommended Previous Knowledge
Approved first semester studies. Specialized study courses presuppose good background knowledge in philosophy, and students should normally have finished their exams in all 100-level cumpolsary courses. A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
FIL245 overlaps 10 credits with FIL345.html">FIL345 (Research Topic in Philosophy of Language).
Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is offered in the form of lectures and/or seminars.

Guidance of semester assignment paper: guidance is a voluntary offer and can occur individually or in groups.

The number of gatherings may be reduced if the number of students attending the course is less than 4. In that case, the students will be compensated with individual or group tutoring.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
No compulsory requirements
Forms of Assessment

A semester assignment paper of 3000- 5000 words (not including table of contents, list of references etc.) The topic of the paper must be approved in advance by the teacher of the course. . The semester assignment paper will be assessed at the end of the semester.

Assessment in a semester without teaching follows the syllabus the previous semester the course had teaching.

Grading Scale
From A to F
Reading List
There is a fixed reading list which the student, in cooperation with the teacher, is supposed to supply with additional reading.
Course Evaluation
The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.