Contemporary European Philosophy (PHIL*3200) | College of Arts

Contemporary European Philosophy (PHIL*3200)

Term: Winter 2014


If a single issue dominated 20th century philosophy, it was an increasing concern with the problem of language. Debates over meaning, reference, grammar, communication, and interpretation dominated the philosophical landscape in both Europe and North American. Around the turn of the century, linguists, logicians, and philosophers, such as Ferdinand Saussure, Gottlob Frege, and Edmund Husserl, attempted to account for various aspects of language, including the nature of linguistic signs, the relation of language to semantic truth, and the relation between meaning and subjective intentions.

These thinkers inspired a host of supporters and critics who have greatly influenced present understandings of language. We will investigate some of their texts as well as those of some of their European successors, including Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Julia Kristeva. We will attempt to analyze and evaluate their responses to three related questions: (1) What is the structure of language? (2) What makes language possible? (3) What is the connection between language and politics?

See attachment for textbooks.



PDF icon PHIL3200 W14 Syllabus.pdf31.83 KB