Thursday, 13 December 2012


1. What is the distinction between novel and dead metaphors? Can you think of an example?

2. Why might you think metaphors are abbreviated smilies?

3. Is there a difference in how we understand metaphors and smilies?

4. Similes (if literal) are symmetrical. What does this mean? Are metaphors symmetrical?

5. Are all metaphors reducible to smilies? Can you think of one which isnt?

6. What is Searle's theory?

7. What are some problems with Searle's theory? (We touched on some last week)

8. What Davidson's theory?

9. What are the problems with Davidsons theory?

10. Which account do you think is best?

Thursday, 6 December 2012


1. What is the SEMANTIC CONTENT of
A) They got married and had a baby

What is IMPLIED by A)?

2. Think of your own example of a sentence which communicates more than its sematic content using implicature.

3. What are the 4 Gricean maxims of conversation?

4. How are implicatures conveyed according to Grice?

5. Which maxim does an utterance of
'I ate some of the cakes' flout in order to convay its meaning?

How about, (upon reaching the end of the party) 'Here's the door'

6. How about 'they got married and had a baby'?

7. What is the difference between an particularized and a general implicature?

8. What might a good test for CI (conversational implicature) be?

9. What is the semantic content of 'she was poor but honest'? Is there any CI? Can it be cancelled?

10. How might Grice deal with metaphor? How about sarcasm?

11. (Hard question) How might you use CI to deal with the Frege puzzles for the Millian?

Thursday, 29 November 2012


Reading: Chaphter 11 of Lycan


1. What is the difference between semantics and pragmatics?

2. Do sentences have meanings outside of context? If they dont, what does that mean for the semantics/pragmatics distinction?

3. What is the near side/ far side pragmatics distinction?

4. I ask you 'when did you stop hitting your wife?'. What does my question presuppose?

5. Are presuppositions part of the semantic or pragmatic content of a sentence?

6. Why are indexicals essential to language?

7. What is an 'index' in the sense on pg 140?

8. What would the suggestion on pg 140 have as the truth conditions of
'are you here now'?

9. On pg 141 another set of truth conditions for 'are you here now' is suggested. What are they? How can we accomodate them?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Propositions and Possible Words

Reading: Chapter 10

1. What is Davidsons programme? (see last week)

2. What problems does it face (see last week)

3. What is a possible world?

4. How might we give the meaning of a proposition in terms of possible words?

5. What then would the meaning of a name be?

6. What advantage does this have over Davidson?

7. What are the problems with this view? Can it overcome them?

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Names (Again)

Reading: Chapter 4 of the Lycan


1. Why say 'proper names are rigid'?

2. If proper names are rigid, what does that mean for the descriptive theory of names?

3. What is a natural kind?

4. Are natural kinds abbreviated descriptions? Why/why not?

5. What is Millianism?

6. How might the Millian solve Frege's puzzle about belief reports (Louis lane belives that superman can fly, but Louis Lane doesn't believe that Clarke Kent can fly)? Is this successful?

7. How might the Millian solve Frege's puzzle about negative existentials? Do you find it convincing?

8/ According to the Causa;l Theory of Reference what fixes the reference of a name/natural kind term?

9. Can the Causal Theory Of Reference deal with empty names?

10. What is Evan's Madagascar example and what is it supposed to show?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Definite Descriptions

Seminar 2: 17th October

Reading Chapter 2 ('Definite descriptions'), pp 9 -30 of Lycan textbook


1. Which of the following is are singular terms;

the morning star
fat men
the seminar leader
thin men
that girl

What is a singular term?

2. 'Santa does not exisit' is true. Why is this a puzzle (see pg 11)?

3. What is Frehes puzzle about identity?

4. What is the problem of substitutivity?

5. What would Russell say are the 3 propositions which 'The seminar leader is a girl' has as its logical form? (See pg 13 and 14)

6.  What would Russell say are the 3 propositions which 'Santa is fat' has as its logical form? What would Russell say are the 3 propositions which 'Santa does not exist' has as its logical form?

7. With reference to your answer to question 6, why think that Russell solves Frege's puzzles?

8. What is objection 3 on pg 21-23 to Russell's theory? Do you find it convincing?

9. What is objection 4 on pg 23- 27 to Russell's theory? Do you find it convincing?

10. Can the Rusellian theory deal with anaphora?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Seminar One - 12th October

Reading: Chap. One of Lycan


Please think about the following questions. You do not need to write the answers down, but if you dont know the answers (especially to the first few questions) you may need to do the reading again or turn up to the seminar able to explain what it is that you dont understand.

1. Which of the following mean something;

A) xhjahduk

B) Anthony Everett

C) Bike Anthony his Everett tuesday green on rode

D) Anthony Everett rode his green bike on tuesday

2. What is the referential theory of meaning?

3. According to the above in virtue of what does 'Anthony Everett' have meaning?

4. What does 'Anthony Everett' denote?

5. What do the following denote:

A) 'philosophy'
B) 'red'
C) 'a'

Do any of these prove problematic for the referential theory of meaning?

6. Does the following mean anything:

How about 'Anthony and Katie are red and fat'?

7. What is Bradley's regress?

8. Do 'Clarke Kent' and 'Superman' mean the same thing?