Answer TWO of the following prompts. In your answer, make sure to provide relevant background information and explain any technical terms with concrete examples, when appropriate. Pretend you are writing for a general audience that is unfamiliar with the topic or text. No citations necessary; open notes. You may collaborate with others in our class, but you must provide your own examples and explain the relevant concepts in your own words. Sample response is located in the mid-term folder under Course Documents.
1) Compare a traditional representationalist account of language with Robert Brandom’s notion of language being composed of games of “giving and asking for reasons.” First, explain how an inferentialist approach to language as a “social practice” differs from the traditional model (offer a general overview of the main tenets of representationalism: reference, meaning, and reality), using your own examples. Finally, offer an example that demonstrates which model you find more persuasive (or is one model better suited in certain contexts), and explain why.
2) Offer a genealogical origin story for some target vocabulary, drawing on Huw Price’s account of linguistic function. First, provide some familiar examples or instances of your target vocabulary (e.g., modal, mathematical, moral, aesthetic, scientific, religious, political discourse). Next, explain how your account differs from traditional representationalist approach (from a commitment to Price’s account). In your response, make sure to explain the relevant features of representationalism.
3) Use either David Foster Wallace or George Orwell to analyze the political components of one of the analytic philosophy texts we’ve encountered in this class (if you want to analyze a different text you need to contact me for approval beforehand). First, explain the relevant features of Wallace/Orwell that matter for your analysis (for a general audience). Next, give a brief overview of the point and motivation of the analytic philosophy paper, before explaining which component Wallace/Orwell would target as representative of their account, and why. Finally, what reason might an analytic philosopher have for agreeing with Wallace/Orwell on the political import of the target text (why should an analytic philosopher modify their behavior)?
4) Use Amie Thomasson’s account of linguistic function to explain the function of parables, using the examples from Borges, Lewis, and Wittgenstein that we’ve discussed in class. According to Thomasson’s account of function (as you explain it), what distinguishes parables from traditional philosophical analysis? Offer a potential topic or context where parables might be more appropriate than traditional approaches, and explain why.
5) Apply Kim’s class of fictional truths (formal features) to a particular text from our class. First, explain Kim’s class of fictional truths (for a general audience). Next, explain the point and motivation of the target text (in a way that demonstrates the relevance of truth). Finally, show how the formal features play an essential role in establishing the truth-conditions for a claim or set of claims in the text.