Class #12

Logic and Language

Reading:  "Logicians and Philosophers of Language"

Lecture PowerPoint Deck

A large portion of the book Mozi is occupied by treatises on language and logic. Although many key developments in the areas of logic and philosophy of language postdate the central chapters of the Mozi, we will pause at this point to examine these traditions, which were sparked in part by the Mohist "discovery" of syllogistic argument.

This class is generally considered by students to be among the most challenging of the term – the issues are truly tough philosophically, and have been in long-term debate among members of the field for two decades. They are, however, of such provocative interest that it would be a shame to omit them in this course. The online reading has been designed pretty carefully to try to make these matter more accessible than they otherwise would be – of all the meetings we’ll have this year, I think careful advance preparation for this one is likely most necessary for being able to absorb the class discussion.