Gillian Russell

Philosophy Professor at UNC Chapel Hill

Phil 745 (Lin 712) Graduate Seminar in Philosophy of Language (Fall 2019)

This website is a DRAFT of my syllabus for Phil 745 – some changes are likely

Class times Wednesdays 4-6.30pm, Caldwell 213

Course Website:

Course Instructor:

  • Professor Gillian Russell
  • Office hours: TBA
  • Office Location: Caldwell Hall, 203
  • Email: gillian UNDERSCORE russell AT unc DOT edu

This is a graduate-level research seminar in the philosophy of language.


The assigned readings for the course are listed in the syllabus below and most will be made available online (either with a link from this page or via our library course reserves site, which you can access through Sakai.)

21st August

Reading: Introduction and Chapter 1 of Just Words

28th August

Chapters 2 and 3 of Just Words

4th September

Chapters 4 and 5 of Just Words

11th September

Chapters 6 and 7 and the Conclusion of Just Words

18th September

“Score-Keeping in a Language Game” – David Lewis
“Common Ground” – Robert Stalnaker

25th September

Austin and Grice

2nd October

“Blocking as Counterspeech” – Ray Langton

9th October

“Insinuation, Common Ground, and the Conversational Record” – Elizabeth Camp

16th October

No class today (I’ll be at a workshop in Norway.)

23rd October

First class

30th October

Professor Robin Jeshion’s visit

6th November

“Dog Whistles, Political Manipulation, and the Philosophy of Language” – Jennifer Saul

13th November

“Slurs and Ideologies” – Eric Swanson

20th November

“He/She/They/Ze” – Robin Dembroff and Daniel Wodak

27th November

No class – Thanksgiving Break

4th December

Further reading:
“Racist Jokes may be worse than Racist Statements” – Clare Horisk’s (blog post for OUP.)


Assessment will be by way of a research paper on a topic of your choice, due on the last day of classes. (4000 concise and carefully chosen words would be reasonable, but your paper may be shorter or longer if the topic demands it.)

Each student will also be required to give one 15-minute in-class presentation during the semester. I will ask you to email me your top three choices for date/topic after the first class. I will then put together a schedule for the presentations.

Presentations should not try to summarise ALL the reading for that class. You should pick one or two points that you found interesting or which raise questions, and present these clearly in order to kick off discussion.

I recommend coming to see me during the week before your presentation, in order to talk over your plans.

It would also be a good idea to come and see me at least once during the semester to talk about your paper project.

The research paper is worth 80% of your grade. The presentation is worth 20%

Honor Code

All students must be familiar with and abide by the Honor Code, which covers issues such as plagiarism, falsification, unauthorized assistance or collaboration, cheating, and other grievous acts of academic dishonesty. Violations of the Honor Code will not be taken lightly.

The Center for Student Success and Academic Counselling

Located in the Student Academic Services Building, the CSSAC offers support to all students through units such as the Learning Center and the Writing Center.

Reasonable Accommodations Policy

Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent them from fully demonstrating their abilities should contact Disability Services as soon as possible to discuss accommodations.