Philo 394.84 | Hunter College | Fall 2015 | Taught by Daniel W. Harris (email)

Speech Acts

Syllabus  |  Second, Third, and Fourth Writing Assignments  |  Commenting Instructions

Tuesdays Fridays
August 28

A bit of speech-act comedy to get started
September 1

Required Readings

Wittgenstein: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (read from §1 to §4.06)
Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations (read §§1-32)
September 4

Required Readings

Austin: How to do Things with Words (lectures 1-5)

Week 1 Slides
September 8
No Class
September 11
No Class
September 15
No Class
September 18
Austin: How to do Things with Words, chs.6-12
September 22
No Class
September 25
Finish Austin

Austin Slides
September 29
Rae Langton - Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts

Jason Stanley - The Ways of Silencing
October 2
Judith Butler - Gender Trouble (Read at least the first ten pages or so. Warning: Butler is not an easy read!)

Sara Salih - On Judith Butler and Performativity

Langton and Butler Slides
October 6
(Finish Butler.)
October 9
H. P. Grice - Meaning

H. P. Grice - Utterer's Meaning and Intentions
October 13
Class Cancelled
October 16
P. F. Strawson - Intention and Convention in Speech Acts

Stephen Schiffer - Meaning (This ia book-length attempt to build on Grice's ideas. Ch.4 is all about speech acts. Read at least pp.88–104. Warning: difficult! -- this will take a couple of passes.)
October 20
(We'll finish talking about Grice, Strawson, and Schiffer. Please make sure you've read them carefully and thought about them.)

You may also want to read ahead to Chapter 2 of John Searle's Speech Acts, which is where he criticizes intentionalism.

Optional background: following on our discussion of whether Grice's talk of beliefs, desires, and intentions is legitimate, you may want to have a look at the SEP article on Folk Psychology as a Theory.

Grice Slides
October 23
John Searle: Speech Acts (read chs.2-3)

John Searle - A Taxonomy of Illocutionary Acts

Searle Slides
October 27
Kent Bach and Robert M. Harnish: Linguistic Communication and Speech Acts, Chapters Six and Seven.

(Read both chapters. Here, Bach and Harnish try to adjudicate between intentionalism and conventionalism, concluding that each is the correct theory of some illocutionary acts. They use some of their own terminology that they introduce earlier in the book, but you should be able to mostly ignore that.)

Bach and Harnish Slides
October 30
Grice: Logic and Conversation (required)

Stephen Neale: Paul Grice and the Philosophy of Language (Optional: This is the best overall survey of Grice's work and how it fits together. It's quite long, but worth the time if you want to really understand how Grice's different ideas fit together.)

Logic and Conversation Slides
November 3
John Searle: Indirect Speech Acts (Chapter two of the book that's linked to here.)
November 6
John Searle: Metaphor (Chapter four of the book that's linked to here.)

Ernie Lepore and Matthew Stone: Against Metaphorical Meaning
November 10
Elisabeth Camp: Metaphor and that Certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'
November 13
We'll finish talking about the three metaphor readings.
November 17
Ray Buchanan: A Puzzle about Meaning and Communication
November 20
Chris Hom: The Semantics of Racial Epithets

Basil Smith: Internalism and Externalism in the Philosophy of Mind and Language (You may want to read the first couple of sections of this encyclopedia entry as background to Hom's ideas.) Elisabeth Camp: Slurring Perspectives
November 24
Geoff Nunberg: The Social Life of Slurs

November 27
No Class (Thanksgiving)
December 1
(Class Cancelled)
December 4
Jeremy Waldron: The Harm in Hate Speech

(Read at least the first chapter.)
December 8
Miranda Fricker: Epistemic Injustice

(Read at least the first chapter.)
December 11
Susan Carey: The Origin of Concepts, Ch.5 ('Core Cognition: Agency')

Boaz Keysar: Communication and Miscommuication: The Role of Egocentric Processes

Boaz Keysar, Shuhong Lin, and Dale J. Barr: Limits on theory of mind use in adults

(Read at least one of these. We'll discuss both.)