THEORY OF LANGUAGE AND THE MIND
Learning outcomes of the course unit
1-Knowledge and understanding
The course introduces the current debate in philosophy of literature. This allows the students to grasp the logical space in which the debate is situated as well as the state of the contemporary debate on the topic.
2-Applying Knowledge and understanding
Through a close analysis of arguments proposed by the philosophers students acquire techniques necessary for formulating and criticizing an argument. In addition, they sharpen their conceptual tools to engage in the debate.
3-4- Making judgments, communication skills
Students are encouraged to participate actively in discussion in class, which should train them to weigh arguments, arrive at defending a specific position and formulate arguments in favor of it.
Great emphasis will be put on reading skills: students will be trained to recognize philosophical arguments and come up with a rational reconstruction which highlights the impact of the respective argument for the debate. In short, they acquire techniques necessary for studying other topics and doing philosophy autonomously.
Course contents summary
The course gives an introduction to the actual debate in philosophy of literature. In works of fiction, language seems to play a particular role, since most of the affirmations contained in the text are false: a novel describes persons that have never lived and events that have never taken place. This leads to questions how (and, if yes, what) we can learn from literature? Can we feel genuine emotions for fictional characters, even though we know that they do not exist? What do proper names contained in works of fiction refer to? We will discuss these questions of the basis of Kendall Walton's book "Mimesis as Make-Believe".
Kendall Walton: "Mimesi come far finta. Sui fondamenti delle arti rappresentazioni" Milano: Mimesis, 2011.
Lectures and discussions in class.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam consists of a written part with short questions, and, a few days later, an oral part with more general questions. Each part weighs 50% of the final grade.