Syllabus for Perspective in Language and Thought

Perspektiv i språk och tänkande


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5FT153
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Theoretical Philosophy G2F

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle
    G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified.

    Second cycle
    A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified.

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2021-03-08
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 27, 2021
  • Entry requirements: 60 credits in practical philosophy or theoretical philosophy
  • Responsible department: Department of Philosophy

Decisions and guidelines

The course is offered to C level students, students at advanced level and PhD students. The examination requirements are higher, the higher the level of studies of the student.

Learning outcomes

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to philosophical problems about self-knowledge and first person perspective. Upon completion of the course the student is expected to be able to:

  • describe the main theories about self-knowledge, objectivity vs. subjectivity, and first person perspective
  • analyse different approaches to self-knowledge and first person perspective, as well as philosophical problems that arise from them
  • contextualise discussions about self-knowledge and first person perspective in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language
  • analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the theories studied.


This course is concerned with issues surrounding first-person point of view within philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. A long tradition in philosophy considers first-person thoughts to have special features. You're standing in front of a shop window. You see someone in the glass and you notice that her shoelace is undone. You think, "Oh, her shoelace is undone." After a few minutes, you realize that what you saw was your own reflection. So you conclude, "Oh, my shoelace is undone." In one sense your thought remains the same, namely you thought of a certain person -- that is, you -- that her shoelace is undone. Yet in another sense there is a crucial difference between thinking of that person as yourself, or as someone else. Only when you think of her as yourself will you be guided to act in certain ways, for example, to bend down and tie your shoe. First-person thought is often thought to have a particular direct relation to action.

A more broad discussion concerns how to understand the place of the subjective point of view in the "objective" world. Is there such a thing as a perspective-free conception of reality? Is first-personal self-knowledge different from third-personal knowledge? Can we conceive of a mind that does not have a perspective on things, a point of view? At the end of the course we will discuss some debates about subjectivity relating to conceptions of mind and world, and the so-called "view from nowhere".


Instruction will be through lectures and seminars. A high level of student participation in discussions is expected. The language of instruction is English.


The examination for the course will be a paper of 3000-5000 words on a freely chosen topic relating to the content of the course.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 27, 2021

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Reading List

Information on literature which the students need to aquire themselves will be announced here or in Studium at the latest five weeks before the course starts.