THEORY OF LANGUAGE AND THE MIND
Learning outcomes of the course unit
1-Knowledge and understanding
The course introduces some the main themes of language and mind (as they are exemplified in the field of the philosophy of literature) and the role they play in different philosophical traditions. 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 classical 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 aim of the course is to present 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".
Barbero, Carola. Filosofia Della Letteratura. Roma: Carocci editore, 2013.
Walton, Kendall L. Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990. (Selections).
Lectures and discussion 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.
The grades range from 18 (minimum) to 30 e lode. The criteria for the assignment of the grade are:
30 e lode: excellent, profound knowledge, excellent expressive capacities, complete comprehension of the relevant concepts and arguments
30: very good, complete and adequate knowledge, good discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
27-29: good, an acceptable degree of knowledge, acceptable discursive capacities with respect to the topic of the course.
24-26: mediocre level of knowledge, though incomplete and not not always correct.
21-23: basic, though superficial knowledge. Inadequate discursive competences with respect to the topic of the course.
Below 18: insufficient. Very imcomplete knowledge, presentation unclear, incomplete comprehension of the basic concepts and arguments.