Universität Wien

180084 SE Words and Concepts: Normative Issues (2020S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 30 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Tuesday 09.06. 09:45 - 16:30 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Tuesday 16.06. 09:45 - 16:30 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Tuesday 23.06. 09:45 - 16:30 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Tuesday 30.06. 09:45 - 16:30 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

ATTENTION: This seminar will be taught entirely online. Please consult the seminar's Moodle page in order to learn about the mode and structure of online classes.

This seminar focusses on normative questions regarding linguistic and conceptual representations. What is the relationship between language and thought? Is thought atemporal and language-independent, or is it shaped by language? Is it possible to improve our language in order to improve our thinking? In general, can philosophers improve our conceptual resources? How is conceptual “engineering” to be achieved? Can we work out a general theory of how concepts are to be engineered? These questions were important for authors like Gottlob Frege, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Rudolf Carnap; contemporary authors like Sally Haslanger and Kevin Scharp resume some elements of this tradition and further delve into its methodological aspects.

Assessment and permitted materials

Students are asked to complete the following tasks, which are all relevant to the final evaluation.
(1) Sending a short essay (of max 1,000 words) by the end of the course (June 30, 2020). This assignment counts for 40% of the final mark.
(2) Participating to discussions in class (asking questions, sharing comments). This assignment counts for 10% of the final mark.
(3) Writing a long essay of max 2,500 words, on a chosen topic or author, to be handed in by September 30, 2020. This assignment counts for 50% of the final mark. The essay should be delivered via Moodle, by following a dedicated link.
[By registering to this course, you agree to have your written assignments checked by the anti-plagiarism software Turnitin. (Mit der Anmeldung zu dieser Lehrveranstaltung stimmen Sie zu, dass die automatisierte Plagiatsprüfungs-Software Turnitin alle von Ihnen im moodle eingereichten schriftlichen Teilleistungen prüft.)]

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

- The minimum requirement is some familiarity with the methods and writing style of analytic philosophy.
- The following skills and competences will be evaluated: (1) the student’s capacity to summarize a philosophical text by capturing its main thesis and the gist of its main argument(s) with sufficient precision and conciseness. (2) the student’s capacity to formulate critical questions that can spur a discussion. (3) the student’s capacity to present philosophical ideas and arguments in written and extended form, with clarity, precision and good bibliographical support.

Examination topics

- A list of essay topics will be provided in due course.
- The topics of the short essay and long essay should not overlap.

Reading list

Mandatory and optional readings will be announced in due course; all mandatory readings will be uploaded on Moodle.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21