Philosophical Explorations
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Course title
Philosophical Explorations
Yunqing Lin
Instructor’s profile
Yunqing Lin is Professor of linguistics. He graduated in 1985 from China University of Mining and Technology with a BEng in Automatic Control. In 1986 went to University of Essex and obtained an MSc and then a PhD in Computer Science (Supervisor: Prof. Raymond Turner). From 1990 to 1996 he worked as Research Associate and then Senior Research Associate in the Computational Linguistics Unit, School of English Studies, Communication and Philosophy, University of Cardiff, working with Prof. Robin Fawcett on building an intelligent dialogue system utilizing Systemic Functional Grammar. Having got absorbed in the foundations of linguistic, he went to University of Oxford (1996-2003) to pursue an MPhil and a DPhil in Linguistics (Supervisor: Prof. James Higginbotham). While at Oxford, he had the fortune to have frequent meetings with Sir Peter F. Strawson to discuss issues in linguistics and the philosophy of language. He was employed as a lecturer in University of London from 2000 to 2004. In the summer of 2004, he returned to China to work as Professor of Linguistics at Beijing Normal University. He became Distinguished Professor in Humanity Sciences at Beihang University in May 2010.
Professor Lin’s main research areas are: Theoretical Linguistics (including syntax, semantics, pragmatics, also including some theories in cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics) and Philosophy of Language.
Course goals
The course PHILOSOPHY OF LANGAUGE is designed for PhD candidates in the broad area of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, as well as literary studies. It aims to foster the students’ abilities in abstract thinking. Through studying the classical theories by famous philosophers, such as Descartes, Locke, Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein, Strawson, and Quine, the students can understand how the masters criticize their peers’ work and build their own work on it, learn how they think rigorously, and absorb their extraordinary abilities to argue with others and express themselves. The content of the course and the focus of teaching may be adjusted each year, according to the tutor’s research interests.
Topics to be covered in this course include: Descartes’ meditations, Locke on human understanding, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Frege’s philosophical theory, Russell’s philosophy of language, Strawson’s theory of conceptual scheme, Grice’s theory of meaning, Quine’s Word and Object, and Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language
Two term-essays
Reference books
Reference books vary according to the topic(s) covered
Working language
English and Chinese

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