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Months of entry
Understanding language and communication from a social perspective.
Language is without doubt one of our most complex achievements, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what we do with it, how we use language to understand, comfort, criticise, and manipulate each other. Language is an immensely complicated tool for doing all these things, and more. We talk all the time. Language is our main form of social interaction. In the Master’s specialisation in Philosophy of Language and Logic you’ll explore the richness of language from a social perspective.
Social interaction inevitably involves mindreading. We’re constantly monitoring each other’s intentions, knowledge, plans, interests, and so on. This is especially true of language. If you’re told that your shoelaces are undone, the speaker probably assumes that you didn’t know that your shoelaces are undone and that you’re interested to learn that they are. Thus, communication is rooted in everyday psychology.
You’ll also study language from an evolutionary point of view. Humans are by far the most social species on the planet. We’re by far the most intelligent. And we’re the only species with language. This could be an accident, but it seems more likely that these facts are related, and in order to investigate how they’re connected, we adopt an evolutionary approach.
involves the study of linguistic expressions such as words, sentences, texts and dialogues, where the emphasis is on the context in which these expressions are being interpreted.
In its teaching, the section "Philosophy of Language and Logic" focuses on the development of analytical philosophy from Frege onwards and the rise of modern semantics in the last decades of the 20th century. Its main research interests are the context-dependence of interpretation and its relation to formal semantics and pragmatics, on the one hand, and philosophy of mind, on the other. Typical themes that are addressed are context-dependence and presupposition, dynamic theories of meaning, discourse and discourse structure, the analysis of propositional attitudes and their relation to mental states, and the relation between interpretation and psychological processes.
Current research is connected with two NWO-funded projects that are being carried out within this section, namely "Information Integration in Discourse" and "Reasoning and the Brain" (in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and the F.C. Donders Centre). Furthermore, together with the department of linguistics, this section organises the interdisciplinary "Semantics Colloquium".
The members of the section work together with several philosophical and semantic centres in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the United States.
Research & Researchers
The department of Philosphy of Language is part of the section Philosophy of Mind and Language. Visit the site of Philosophy of Mind and Language for more information on education, research and researchers in this section.
*This is a specialisation of the Master's in Philosophy
Qualification and course duration
MA by research
Course contact details
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