Logic and analytic philosophy

This course is part of the programme
Master in SL studies - Linguistics

Objectives and competences

Introduction into logic (which is a very important research tool in linguistics) and analytic philosophy.


In order to successfully participate in in-class discussions and to follow the lectures, the student should take the introductory linguistic courses. This course is related to other courses in the Language


Analytic philosophy emerged simultaneously with the development of contemporary philosophical logic by figures such as Frege and Russell. In the century that has passed since then, many important advances have taken place in both logic and analytic philosophy, and current work at the intersection of these areas may well be preparing the way for a paradigm shift at least as important as the one introduced by Frege and Russell. In particular, work in dynamic logic and expressivist semantics for natural language is using formal methods in ways that reject the basic primitives of truth and reference, replacing them with expressivist primitives (like expressing approval or expressing referential intentions) and replacing the idea that particular logical operators (like conditionals and modals) have specific semantic values with the idea that they provide us information for updating our information states. This "dynamic" conception of logic can be applied not just to logical operators but to the lexicon itself -- suggesting that the theory of word meaning could also be embedded into dynamic logic. If this is right, then the consequences for analytic philosophy would be profound -- ranging from new ways of thinking about propositional attitudes like belief to the nature of communication itself.

Material discussed in lectures also forms the main part of recitations, where more time and care is devoted to the main issues. Emphasis is given to practical knowledge and actual analysis of language data.


  • Articles from various journals like Synthese, Language and Philosophy, Philosophical review, etc.
  • Kamp, H. & U. Reyle. 1993. From discourse to logic. Kluwer: Dordrecht.


Attending lectures, a term paper, active participation in in-class discussions.