Graduate Seminar
Foundations of Social Science
(with focus on linguistics)

Spring 2008

Course Description

In contrast to the natural sciences, the human sciences -- the behavioral and social sciences -- appear to rely on "intentional" concepts such as rationality, agency, belief, and meaningfulness. Is this appearance correct? And if so, just how should intentional concepts be understood, and how are intentional explanations related to causal explanations?

In this course we will survey the philosophy of the human sciences, using Rosenberg's textbook, and we will delve into cognitivism as it is found in linguistics. In remaining weeks we will study the nature of interpretation.


You will have a term paper of 2500-3500 words, a presentation of it to the class, and a final exam.


Alexander Rosenberg. Philosophy of Social Science (3/e, Westview, 2007).
Dirk Geeraerts, ed. Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings (Mouton de Gruyter, 2006).
Articles to be announced.