Language and Reality

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 5FT187

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Theoretical Philosophy A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 4 September 2023
Responsible department
Department of Philosophy

Entry requirements

120 credits, including 60 credits in philosophy, aesthetics, musicology, literature or art history. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should:

  • be able to clearly describe relevant theories about language and reality, and their relationship
  • be able to assess these theories and describe important objections to them
  • be able to make original contributions to the philosophical discussion about language and reality.


Questions about the nature of language and reality, and how the two might be related, are central to the project of analytic philosophy. In this course, we will consider a number of such questions. For example: Does reality have a structure that in some sense matches linguistic structure? Can reality be described equally well in many different ways? Does ordinary language come with substantial metaphysical commitments? Is reflection on the nature of language the right way to do metaphysics? And how might linguistic representations relate to other ways of representing the world?


There will be no formal division between lectures and seminars. All sessions will be interactive. Students will be expected to complete the relevant readings before class, and come prepared to contribute to the discussion.


Assessment will be based on three short writing assignments and a final take-home exam. The short writing assignments will be 600 words and will be graded pass/fail. The final take-home exam will be a long essay of 4000 words and be graded fail/pass/pass with distinction. Active participation in class may also be a positive factor in the overall assessment of a student's work in 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.

Other directives

The course may run jointly with the first cycle course 5FT188.

No reading list found.