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PH998-30 Topics in Philosophy of Mind and Language

Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Naomi Eilan
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

PH998 Topics in Philosophy of Mind and Language

Module web page

Module aims

This module will address some central topics in the Philosophy of Mind and Language. The main aim is to engage in detail with some arguments that have played a central role in contemporary discussions. Possible topics include: the role of sense in accounting for meaning and understanding; truth-conditional accounts of meaning and understanding; propositional attitude reports and their connection with propositional attitudes; the nature of linguistic understanding; anti-individualism in the philosophy of mind; the nature of perceptual experience.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Week 1. Frege on sense and reference.
Week 2. Putnam on anti-individualism about language.
Week 3. Burge on anti-individualism about mind.
Week 4. Knowledge as a state of mind.
Week 5. Nagel on What it is like.
Week 7. Critical discussions of talk of what it is like.
Week 8. Naïve Realism.
Week 9. Naïve Realism and disjunctivism.
Week 10. Disjunctivism, illusion, and hallucination

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • By the end of the module the student should have advanced knowledge and understanding of some current key issues that arise in the areas of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language.
  • By the end of the module the student should be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of some complex texts in the areas of the philosophy of mind and language covered in the module.
  • By the end of the module students should be able to interpret, and evaluate independently, texts and arguments in the areas of the philosophy of mind and language covered in the module. By the end of the module students should be able to present views and arguments and develop original critical assessments of those arguments orally and in writing.
Indicative reading list

Gottlob Frege 1892. “On Sense and Reference”. The Frege Reader. Ed. M. Beaney. Oxford:
Blackwell, 1997: 151– 171. Gideon Makin 2010 “Frege’s Distinction Between Sense and Reference” Philosophy Compass 5, 2: 147–163.
Juliet Floyd 2010. “Putnam’s “The Meaning of ‘Meaning’”: Externalism in Historical Context, in Y. Ben-Menahem ed. Hilary Putnam.
Hilary Putnam 1975. “The Meaning of ‘Meaning’” in his Philosophical Papers Volume 2, CUP. Up to: 229.
Tyler Burge 2013. “Some Remarks on Putnam’s Contribution to Semantics” Theoria 79, 3: 229–241.
Tyler Burge 1979. “Individualism and the Mental” reprinted in his Foundations of Mind, OUP.
Jessica Brown 1995. “The Incompatibility of Anti-Individualism and Privileged Access,” Analysis, 55: 149–56. Jennifer Nagel 2013. “Knowledge as a Mental State” in Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 4.
Timothy Williamson 2000. Knowledge and Its Limits, OUP. Chs.1–2.
Elizabeth Fricker 2009. “Is Knowing a State of Mind? The Case Against.” In P. Greenough and D. Pritchard eds. Williamson on Knowledge, OUP.
Thomas Nagel 1974. “What Is it Like to Be a Bat?” Philosophical Review 83, 4: 435–50.
Naomi Eilan 2014. “Intelligible Realism about Consciousness: A Response to Nagel’s Paradox”, Ratio 27, 1: 32–52. Peter Hacker 2000. “Is There Anything It Is Like to Be a Bat?” Philosophy 77, 300: 157–174.
Paul Snowdon 2010. “On the What-It-Is-Likeness of Experience”, Southern Journal of Philosophy 48, 1: 8–27. Christoph Hoerl 2015. “Writing on the Page of Consciousness”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115,3: 187–209.
Daniel Stoljar 2016. “The Semantics of ‘What it’s like’ and the Nature of Consciousness”, Mind 125, 500: 1161–1198. Richard Gaskin 2017. “A Defence of the Resemblance Meaning of ‘What it’s like’”, Mind 128, 511: 673–698. Matthew Soteriou 2016. Disjunctivism, Routledge. J. L. Austin Sense & Sensibilia, OUP. Lectures 1–3.
Guy Longworth 2019. “Settling a Question: Austin and Disjunctivism” in C. Doyle, J. Milburn, and D. Pritchard eds. New Issues in Epistemological Disjunctivism, Routledge.
M. G. F. Martin 1997. “The Reality of Appearances” in M. Sainsbury ed. Thought and Ontology.
Franco Angeli. J. M. Hinton 1967. “Visual Experiences.” Mind 76: 217–227.
Tyler Burge 2005. “Disjunctivism and Perceptual Psychology”, Philosophical Topics 33: 1–78. Susanna

Subject specific skills

i) The ability to understand philosophical issues and arguments
(ii) The ability to critically engage with philosophical ideas and arguments
(iii) The ability to articulate philosophical issues and arguments
(iv) The ability to read philosophical texts, including an ability to understand and explain technical philosophical vocabulary from these historical texts, and debates about interpretation of certain key terms.

Transferable skills

(i) The ability to communicate information (verbally and in written form) to people both expert and non-expert in the field.
(ii) The ability to analyse, evaluate, critique and apply complex information gathered from reading, reflection, reasoning or communication.
(iii) The ability to effectively manage schedules and deadlines

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (3%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (3%)
Private study 282 hours (94%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

No private study requirements defined for this module.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
7500 word essay 100%
Feedback on assessment

Feedback on essays will be provided on the coversheet for the essay, addressing standard areas
of evaluation and individual content.


This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of TPHA-V7PL Postgraduate Taught Philosophy

This module is Option list A for:

  • TPHA-V7PN Postgraduate Taught Philosophy and the Arts
    • Year 1 of V7PN Philosophy and the Arts
    • Year 2 of V7PN Philosophy and the Arts