Linguistics and Philosophy (Course 24)

Philosophy


Undergraduate Subjects

24.00 Problems of Philosophy

Prereq: None
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

Introduction to the problems of philosophy- in particular, to problems in ethics, metaphysics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of logic, language, and science. A systematic rather than historical approach. Readings from classical and contemporary sources, but emphasis is on examination and evaluation of proposed solutions to the problems.

C. Hare

24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy

Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Spring)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

Introduction to Western philosophical tradition through the study of selected major thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Descartes, Hobbes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche and Marx. Emphasis on changes of intellectual outlook over time, and the complex interplay of scientific, religious and political concerns that influence the development of philosophical ideas.

S. Haslanger

24.02 Moral Problems and the Good Life

Prereq: None
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

Introduction to important philosophical debates about moral issues and what constitutes a good life: What is right, what is wrong, and why? How important are personal happiness, longevity, and success if one is to live a good life? When is it good for you to get what you want? To what extent are we morally obliged to respect the rights and needs of others? What do we owe the poor, the discriminated, our loved ones, animals and fetuses?

K. Setiya

24.03 Good Food: The Ethics and Politics of Food

Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

Explores the values (aesthetic, moral, cultural, religious, prudential, political) expressed in the choices of food people eat. Analyzes the decisions individuals make about what to eat, how society should manage food production and consumption collectively, and how reflection on food choices might help resolve conflicts between different values.

S. Haslanger

24.04[J] Justice

Same subject as 17.01[J]
Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

An examination of alternative theories of justice—utilitarianism, rights theories, social contract theory, and communitarianism—and the implications of those theories for problems of liberty, equality, and community. Readings drawn principally from the work of contemporary political philosophers, including Rawls, Nozick, Dworkin, Walzer, MacIntyre, and Buchanan.

M. Kates

24.05 Philosophy of Religion

Prereq: None
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

Uses key questions in the philosophy of religion to introduce tools of contemporary philosophy. Explores what defines a god, the possibility of the existence of gods, the potential conflict between religion and science, whether morality requires a divine author, and religious tolerance.

J. Spencer

24.06[J] Bioethics

Same subject as STS.006[J]
Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

Considers ethical questions that have arisen from the growth of biomedical research and the health-care industry since World War II. Should doctors be allowed to help patients end their lives? If so, when and how? Should embryos be cloned for research and/or reproduction? Should parents be given control over the genetic make-up of their children? What types of living things are appropriate to use as research subjects? How should we distribute scarce and expensive medical resources? Draws on philosophy, history, and anthropology to show how problems in bioethics can be approached from a variety of perspectives.

A. Prescott-Couch, R. Scheffler

24.08[J] Philosophical Issues in Brain Science

Same subject as 9.48[J]
Prereq: None
U (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

An introduction to some central philosophical questions about the mind, specifically those intimately connected with contemporary psychology and neuroscience. Discussions focus on arguments over innate concepts; 'mental images' as pictures in the head; whether color is in the mind or in the world; and whether there can be a science of consciousness. Explains the relevant parts of psychology and neuroscience as the subject proceeds.

A. Byrne

24.09 Minds and Machines

Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H; CI-H

Introduction to philosophy of mind. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing? Alternatively, is the mind the brain? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are about things? Can I know whether your experiences are the same as mine when we both look at raspberries, fire trucks, and stoplights? Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation?

E. McWilliams

24.111 Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Spring)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Quantum mechanics is said to describe a world in which physical objects often lack "definite" properties, indeterminism creeps in at the point of "observation," ordinary logic does not apply, and distant events are perfectly yet inexplicably correlated. Examination of these and other issues central to the philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics, with special attention to the measurement problem, no-hidden-variables proofs, and Bell's Inequalities. Rigorous approach to the subject matter nevertheless neither presupposes nor requires the development of detailed technical knowledge of the quantum theory.

B. Skow

24.112 Space, Time, and Relativity

Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Philosophical questions raised by relativistic and pre-relativistic physics, especially questions about space and time. Discussions focus on Newton's arguments for the existence of absolute space and time; pre-relativistic arguments that the geometry of space is a matter of convention; and counter arguments from relativity showing that the passage of time is not a real phenomenon. Other topics include the relationship between matter and energy in relativity, and the possibility of time travel. Previous exposure to special relativity will be helpful but is not required.

B. Skow

24.115 Philosophy and Time

Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Considers a wide range of philosophical questions about time through the lenses of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and theory of value. Topics include the question of time's existence, how our minds represent events in time, and whether it is rational to be 'biased toward the future.'

B. Skow

24.118 Paradox and Infinity

Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Different kinds of infinity; the paradoxes of set theory; the reduction of arithmetic to logic; formal systems; paradoxes involving the concept of truth; Godel's incompleteness theorems; the nonformalizable nature of mathematical truth; and Turing machines.

A. Rayo

24.120 Moral Psychology

Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Spring)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

An examination of philosophical theories of action and motivation in the light of empirical findings from social psychology, sociology and neuroscience. Topics include belief, desire, and moral motivation; sympathy and empathy; intentions and other committing states; strength of will and weakness of will; free will; addiction and compulsion; guilt, shame and regret; evil; self-knowledge and self-deception; virtues and character traits.

T. Schapiro

24.201 Topics in the History of Philosophy

Prereq: One philosophy subject or permission of instructor
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H
Can be repeated for credit.

Close examination of a text, an author, or a theme in the history of philosophy. Can be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor and advisor.

T. Schapiro

24.211 Theory of Knowledge

Prereq: One philosophy subject
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Study of problems concerning our concept of knowledge, our knowledge of the past, our knowledge of the thoughts and feelings of ourselves and others, and our knowledge of the existence and properties of physical objects in our immediate environment.

Staff

24.215 Topics in the Philosophy of Science

Prereq: One philosophy subject
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Spring)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H
Can be repeated for credit.

Close examination of a small number of issues central to recent philosophy of science, such as the demarcation problem, causal relations, laws of nature, underdetermination of theory by data, paradoxes of confirmation, scientific realism, the role of mathematics in science, elimination of bias, and the objectivity of scientific discourse.

B. Skow

24.221 Metaphysics

Prereq: One philosophy subject
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Study of basic metaphysical issues concerning existence, the mind-body problem, personal identity, and causation plus its implications for freedom. Classical as well as contemporary readings. Provides practice in written and oral communication.

J. Spencer

24.222 Decisions, Games and Rational Choice

Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Foundations and philosophical applications of Bayesian decision theory, game theory and theory of collective choice. Why should degrees of belief be probabilities? Is it always rational to maximize expected utility? If so, why and what is its utility? What is a solution to a game? What does a game-theoretic solution concept such as Nash equilibrium say about how rational players will, or should, act in a game? How are the values and the actions of groups, institutions and societies related to the values and actions of the individuals that constitute them?

V. McGee

24.230 Meta-ethics

Prereq: One philosophy subject or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Considers a range of philosophical questions about the foundations of morality, such as whether and in what sense morality is objective, the nature of moral discourse, and how we can come to know right from wrong.

J. Khoo

24.231 Ethics

Prereq: One philosophy subject
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Systematic study of central theories in ethics, including egoism, act and rule utilitarianism, intuitionism, emotivism, rights theories, and contractualism. Discussion and readings also focus on problems associated with moral conflicts, justice, the relationship between rightness and goodness, objective vs. subjective moral judgments, moral truth, and relativism.

T. Schapiro

24.235[J] Philosophy of Law

Same subject as 17.021[J]
Prereq: One Philosophy subject or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Spring)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Examines fundamental issues in philosophy of law, such as the nature and limits of law and a legal system, and the relation of law to morality, with particular emphasis on the philosophical issues and problems associated with privacy, liberty, justice, punishment, and responsibility. Historical and contemporary readings, including court cases. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided.

Staff

24.236 Topics in Social Theory and Practice

Subject meets with 24.636
Prereq: One philsophy subject or permission of instructor
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

An in-depth consideration of a topic in social theory with reflection on its implications for social change. Examples of topics include race and racism; punishment and prison reform; global justice and human rights; gender and global care chains; environmentalism and industrial agriculture; bioethics, disability, and human enhancement; capitalism and commodification; and sexuality and the family. Readings draw from both social science and philosophy with special attention to the normative literature relevant to the issue. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

A. Prescott-Couch

24.237[J] Feminist Thought

Same subject as 17.007[J], WGS.301[J]
Subject meets with 17.006[J], 24.637[J]

Prereq: None
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

See description under subject WGS.301[J].

S. Haslanger

24.241 Logic I

Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Introduction to the aims and techniques of formal logic. The logic of truth functions and quantifiers. The concepts of validity and truth and their relation to formal deduction. Applications of logic and the place of logic in philosophy.

V. McGee

24.242 Logic II

Prereq: 24.241 or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Spring)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

The central results of modern logic: the completeness of predicate logic, recursive functions, the incompleteness of arithmetic, the unprovability of consistency, the indefinability of truth, Skolem-Löwenheim theorems, and nonstandard models.

V. McGee

24.243 Classical Set Theory

Prereq: 24.241 or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Spring)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Introduction to the basic concepts and results of standard, i.e., Zermelo-Fraenkel, set theory, the axioms of ZF, ordinal and cardinal arithmetic, the structure of the set-theoretic universe, the axiom of choice, the (generalized) continuum hypothesis, inaccessibles, and beyond.

V. McGee

24.244 Modal Logic

Prereq: 24.241
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Sentential and quantified modal logic, with emphasis on the model theory ("possible worlds semantics"). Soundness, completeness, and characterization results for alternative systems. Tense and dynamic logics, epistemic logics, as well as logics of necessity and possibility. Applications in philosophy, theoretical computer science, and linguistics.

S. Yablo

24.245 Theory of Models

Prereq: 24.241 or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Studies fundamental results in the model theory of the first-order predicate calculus. Includes completeness, compactness, Löwenheim-Skolem, omitting types, ultraproducts, and categoricity in a cardinal, starting with Tarski's definition of logical consequence, in terms of truth in a model.

V. McGee

24.251 Introduction to Philosophy of Language

Prereq: One philosophy subject
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Examines views on the nature of meaning, reference, and truth, and their bearing on the use of language in communication. No knowledge of logic or linguistics presupposed. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided.

J. Khoo

24.253 Philosophy of Mathematics

Prereq: One philosophy subject or permission of instructor
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Philosophical issues about or related to mathematics, including the existence and nature of basic mathematical objects such as numbers and sets, how we can come to have knowledge of such objects, the status of mathematical truth, the relation of mathematics to logic, and whether classical logic can be called into question.

V. McGee

24.260 Topics in Philosophy

Prereq: Two subjects in philosophy
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Close examination of a single book, or group of related essays, with major significance in recent philosophy. Subject matter varies from year to year. Intended primarily for majors and minors in philosophy. Opportunities are provided for oral presentation. Students will be required to revise at least one paper in response to instructor's comments.

C. Hare

24.280 Foundations of Probability

Prereq: One philosophy subject or one subject on probability
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-H

Topics include probability puzzles, common fallacies in probabilistic reasoning, defenses and criticisms of Kolmogorov's axiomatization, interpretations of probability (including the frequency, logical, propensity, and various subjectivist interpretations), the relation of objective chance to rational subjective credence, conditional probability, rules for updating probability, and proposals for supplementing the probability calculus with further principles.

R. White

24.292 Independent Study: Philosophy

Prereq: Any two subjects in philosophy
U (Fall)
Units arranged

Open to qualified students who wish to pursue special studies or projects. Students electing this subject must consult the undergraduate officer.

Staff

24.293 Independent Study: Philosophy

Prereq: Any two subjects in philosophy
U (Spring)
Units arranged

Open to qualified students who wish to pursue special studies or projects. Students electing this subject must consult the undergraduate officer.

Staff

24.S00 Special Subject: Philosophy

Prereq: None
U (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

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24.S20 Special Subject: Philosophy

Prereq: One philosophy subject or permission of instructor
U (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Undergraduate subject that covers topics not offered in the regular curriculum. Consult department to learn of offerings for a particular term.

Staff

24.UR Undergraduate Research

Prereq: None
U (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Can be repeated for credit.

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24.URG Undergraduate Research

Prereq: None
U (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

Research opportunities in linguistics and philosophy. For further information consult the departmental coordinators.

Staff


Undergraduate Seminars

24.191 Being, Thinking, Doing (or Not): Ethics in Your Life

Prereq: None
U (Spring)
2-0-4 units

Provides an opportunity to explore a wide range of ethical issues through guided discussions that are geared to equip students for ongoing reflection and action. Lectures and discussions with guest faculty, as well as attendance at on-and off-campus events, expose students to ethical problems and resources for addressing them. Encourages students to work collaboratively as they clarify their personal and vocational principles. Topics vary each term and will reflect the interests of those enrolled.

A. Prescott-Couch

24.192 Language, Information, and Power

Prereq: One philosophy subject or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

2-0-4 units

Explores foundational issues about language and communication by investigating different ways language and its use affects various aspects of lived experience. Topics include speech act theory, lying, propaganda, censorship, expressions of knowledge, communication in non-cooperative contexts.

J. Khoo


Graduate Subjects

24.400 Proseminar in Philosophy I

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
6-0-18 units

Advanced study of the basic problems of philosophy. Intended for first-year graduate students in philosophy.

R. White, S. Yablo

24.401 Proseminar in Philosophy II

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Spring)
6-0-18 units

Advanced study of the basic problems of philosophy. Intended for first-year graduate students in philosophy.

C. Hare, B. Skow

24.410 Topics in the History of Philosophy

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Spring)

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Intensive study of a philosopher or philosophical movement. Content varies from year to year and subject may be taken repeatedly with permission of instructor and advisor.

Staff

24.500 Topics in Philosophy of Mind

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Spring)

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Selected topics in philosophy of mind. Content varies from year to year. Topics may include consciousness, mental representation, perception, and mental causation.

A. Rayo

24.501 Problems in Metaphysics

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Systematic examination of selected problems in metaphysics. Content varies from year to year and subject may be taken repeatedly with permission of instructor and advisor.

J. Spencer

24.502 Topics in Metaphysics and Ethics

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Fall)

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Systematic examination of selected problems concerning the relation between metaphysics and ethics, for example questions about personal identity and its relation to issues about fairness and distribution, or questions about the relation between causation and responsibility. Content may vary from year to year, and the subject may be taken repeatedly with the permission of the instructor and the student's advisor.

Staff

24.503 Topics in Philosophy of Religion

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Fall)

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Selected topics in philosophy of religion. Content varies from year to year. Topics may include the traditional arguments for the existence of God, religious experience, the problem of evil, survival after death, God and ethics.

A. Byrne

24.601 Topics in Moral Philosophy

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

Systematic examination of selected problems in moral philosophy. Content varies from year to year. Subject may be repeated only with permission of instructor and advisor.

K. Setiya, R. Preston-Roedder

24.611[J] Political Philosophy

Same subject as 17.000[J]
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: G (Spring)
Acad Year 2017-2018: Not offered

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

See description under subject 17.000[J].

J. Khoo, S. Haslanger, M. Richard

24.636 Topics in Social Theory and Practice

Subject meets with 24.236
Prereq: None
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

An in-depth consideration of a topic in social theory with reflection on its implications for social change. Examples of topics include race and racism; punishment and prison reform; global justice and human rights; gender and global care chains; environmentalism and industrial agriculture; bioethics, disability, and human enhancement; capitalism and commodification; and sexuality and the family. Readings draw from both social science and philosophy with special attention to the normative literature relevant to the issue. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

A. Prescott-Couch

24.637[J] Feminist Thought

Same subject as 17.006[J]
Subject meets with 17.007[J], 24.237[J], WGS.301[J]

Prereq: Permission of instructor, based on previous coursework
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

See description under subject 17.006[J].

S. Haslanger

24.711 Topics in Philosophical Logic

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Problems of ontology, epistemology, and philosophy of language that bear directly on questions about the nature of logic and the conceptual analysis of logical theory, such as logical truth, logical consequence, and proof. Content varies from year to year and subject may be taken repeatedly upon permission of instructor and advisor.

V. McGee

24.729 Topics in Philosophy of Language

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Major issues in the philosophy of language. Topics change each year and subject may be taken repeatedly with permission of instructor.

J. Khoo

24.805 Topics in Theory of Knowledge

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Major issues in theory of knowledge. Topics change each year and subject may be taken repeatedly with permission of instructor.

R. White

24.810 Topics in Philosophy of Science

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Topics in the foundations of science: the nature of concepts and theories, the distinction between empirical and theoretical knowledge claims, realist and instrumentalist interpretation of such claims, and the analysis of scientific explanation. The central topic varies from year to year. Subject may be taken repeatedly with the permission of instructor and advisor.

B. Skow

24.891 Independent Study: Philosophy

Prereq: Permission of advisor
G (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

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24.892 Independent Study: Philosophy

Prereq: Permission of advisor
G (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Can be repeated for credit.

Open to qualified graduate students in philosophy who wish to pursue special studies or projects.

Consult Department Headquarters

24.899 Topics in Linguistics and Philosophy

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Selected topics at the intersection of linguistics and philosophy. Intended for graduate students in either linguistics or philosophy. Topics vary from year to year.

K. von Fintel

24.THG Graduate Thesis

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

Program of research and writing of thesis, to be arranged by the student with supervising committee.

Staff

24.S40 Special Seminar: Philosophy

Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Fall, Spring)

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Graduate subject that covers topics not offered in the regular curriculum. Consult department to learn of offerings for a particular term.

Staff

24.S41 Special Seminar: Philosophy

Prereq: Permission of Instructor
G (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-9 units

Graduate subject that covers topics not offered in the regular curriculum. Consult department to learn of offerings for a particular term.

Staff

Linguistics


Undergraduate Subjects

24.900 Introduction to Linguistics

Prereq: None
U (Fall, Spring)
4-0-8 units. HASS-S; CI-H

Studies what is language and what does knowledge of a language consist of. It asks how do children learn languages and is language unique to humans; why are there many languages; how do languages change; is any language or dialect superior to another; and how are speech and writing related. Context for these and similar questions provided by basic examination of internal organization of sentences, words, and sound systems. Assumes no prior training in linguistics.

Fall: A. Albright
Spring: N. Richards

24.901 Language and Its Structure I: Phonology

Subject meets with 24.931
Prereq: 24.900
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S

Introduction to fundamental concepts in phonological theory and their relation to issues in philosophy and cognitive psychology. Articulatory and acoustic phonetics, distinctive features and the structure of feature systems, underlying representations and underspecification, phonological rules and derivations, syllable structure, accentual systems, and the morphology-phonology interface. Examples and exercises from a variety of languages.

D. Steriade

24.902 Language and Its Structure II: Syntax

Subject meets with 24.932
Prereq: 24.900
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S

Introduction to fundamental concepts in syntactic theory and its relation to issues in philosophy and cognitive psychology. Examples and exercises from a variety of languages.

D. Pesetsky

24.903 Language and Its Structure III: Semantics and Pragmatics

Subject meets with 24.933
Prereq: 24.900
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S

Introduction to fundamental concepts in semantic and pragmatic theory. Basic issues of form and meaning in natural languages. Ambiguities of structure and of meaning. Compositionality. Word meaning. Quantification and logical form. Contexts: indexicality, discourse, presupposition and conversational implicature.

R. Schwarzschild

24.904 Language Acquisition

Prereq: 24.900 or permission of instructor
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S

Covers the major results in the study of first-language acquisition concentrating on the development of linguistic structure, including morphology, syntax, and semantics. Universal aspects of development are discussed, as well as a variety of cross-linguistic phenomena. Theories of language learning are considered, including parameter-setting and maturation.

L. Koring

24.905[J] Laboratory in Psycholinguistics

Same subject as 9.59[J]
Prereq: 9.00 or 24.900
U (Spring)
3-3-6 units. Institute LAB

See description under subject 9.59[J].

E. Gibson

24.906[J] The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism

Same subject as 21G.024[J]
Prereq: 24.900
U (Fall)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S; CI-H

Development of bilingualism in human history (from Australopithecus to present day). Focuses on linguistic aspects of bilingualism; models of bilingualism and language acquisition; competence versus performance; effects of bilingualism on other domains of human cognition; brain imaging studies; early versus late bilingualism; opportunities to observe and conduct original research; and implications for educational policies among others. Students participate in six online web meetings with partner institutions. Taught in English. Enrollment limited.

S. Flynn

24.907[J] Abnormal Language

Same subject as 9.56[J]
Prereq: 24.900 or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-S

See description under subject 9.56[J].

K. Wexler

24.908 Creole Languages and Caribbean Identities

Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S; CI-H

Caribbean Creole languages result from language contact via colonization and the slave trade. Explores creolization from cognitive, historical and comparative perspectives and evaluates popular theories about "Creole genesis" and the role of language acquisition. Also explores non-linguistic creolization in literature, religion and music in the Caribbean and addresses issues of Caribbean identities by examining Creole speakers' and others' beliefs toward Creole cultures. Draws comparisons with aspects of African-American culture.

M. DeGraff

24.909 Field Methods in Linguistics

Prereq: 24.901, 24.902, permission of instructor
U (Spring)
3-1-8 units. Institute LAB

Explores the structure of an unfamiliar language through direct work with a native speaker. Students complete a grammatical sketch of the phonology and syntax, work in groups on specific aspects of the language's structure, and assemble reports to create a partial grammar of the language. Provides instruction and practice in written and oral communication. Enrollment limited.

M. Kenstowicz

24.910 Advanced Topics in Linguistic Analysis

Prereq: 24.901, 24.902, 24.903; or permission of instructor
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S
Can be repeated for credit.

In-depth study of an advanced topic in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax or semantics, with a focus on the interfaces among these grammar components. Provides practice in written and oral communication.

S. Flynn

24.912[J] Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies

Same subject as 21H.106[J], 21L.008[J], 21W.741[J], WGS.190[J]
Prereq: None
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-A, HASS-H; CI-H

Interdisciplinary survey of people of African descent that draws on the overlapping approaches of history, literature, anthropology, legal studies, media studies, performance, linguistics, and creative writing. Connects the experiences of African-Americans and of other American minorities, focusing on social, political, and cultural histories, and on linguistic patterns. Includes lectures, discussions, workshops, and required field trips that involve minimal cost to students.

M. Degraff

24.913[J] Language and Technology

Same subject as 21A.503[J], STS.070[J]
Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-S

See description under subject 21A.503[J].

G. Jones

24.914 Language Variation and Change

Prereq: 24.900
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S

Explores how linguistic systems vary across time and space. Uses case studies in particular languages to examine how language transmission and social factors shape the grammatical systems of individual speakers, and how grammar constrains variation and change. Students work in groups to analyze corpus or survey data. Provides instruction and practice in written and oral communication.

A. Albright

24.915 Linguistic Phonetics

Subject meets with 24.963
Prereq: 24.900
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-S

The study of speech sounds: how we produce and perceive them and their acoustic properties. The influence of the production and perception systems on phonological patterns and sound change. Acoustic analysis and experimental techniques. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.

E. Flemming

24.916[J] Old English and Beowulf (New)

Same subject as 21L.601[J]
Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: U (Fall)

3-0-9 units. HASS-H

See description under subject 21L.601[J].

A. Bahr

24.918 Workshop in Linguistic Research

Prereq: 24.901, 24.902, 24.903; or permission of instructor
U (Spring)
3-0-9 units. HASS-S

Students pursue individual research projects in linguistic analysis under the guidance of an advisor. Class meets weekly for presentation of student research and to critically discuss background reading. Focuses on developing skills in linguistic argumentation and presentation of findings. Provides practice in written and oral communication. Includes a 20-page final paper that each student presents to the class.

D. Steriade

24.919 Independent Study: Linguistics

Prereq: None
U (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

Open to qualified students who wish to pursue special studies or projects.

Consult Department Headquarters

24.UR Undergraduate Research

Prereq: None
U (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Can be repeated for credit.

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24.URG Undergraduate Research

Prereq: None
U (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

Research opportunities in linguistics and philosophy. For further information consult the departmental coordinators.

Staff

24.S90 Special Subject: Linguistics

Prereq: 24.900 or permission of instructor
U (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Undergraduate subject that covers topics not offered in the regular curriculum. Consult department to learn of offerings for a particular term.

Staff


Graduate Subjects

24.921 Independent Study: Linguistics

Prereq: Permission of advisor
G (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

Open to qualified graduate students in linguistics who wish to pursue special studies or projects.

Consult Department Headquarters

24.922 Independent Study: Linguistics

Prereq: Permission of advisor
G (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Can be repeated for credit.

Open to qualified graduate students in linguistics who wish to pursue special studies or projects.

Consult Department Headquarters

24.931 Language and Its Structure I: Phonology

Subject meets with 24.901
Prereq: 24.900 or permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Meets with 24.901, but assignments differ. See description under 24.901.

D. Steriade

24.932 Language and Its Structure II: Syntax

Subject meets with 24.902
Prereq: 24.900 or permission of the instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Meets with 24.902, but assignments differ. See description under 24.902.

D. Pesetsky

24.933 Language and Its Structure III: Semantics and Pragmatics

Subject meets with 24.903
Prereq: 24.900 or permission of instructor
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

Meets with 24.903, but assignments differ. See description under 24.903.

R. Schwarzschild

24.942 Topics in the Grammar of a Less Familiar Language

Prereq: 24.951
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Students work with a native speaker of a language whose structure is significantly different from English, examining aspects of its syntax, semantics, and phonology. In the course of doing this, students will acquire techniques for gathering linguistic data from native speakers. Enrollment limited.

M. Kenstowicz, N. Richards

24.943 Syntax of a Language (Family)

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Detailed examination of the syntax of a particular language or language family, and theories proposed in the existing literature to account for the observed phenomena.

M. DeGraff

24.946 Linguistic Theory and Japanese Language

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-6 units

Detailed examination of the grammar of Japanese and its structure which is significantly different from English, with special emphasis on problems of interest in the study of linguistic universals. Data from a broad group of languages studied for comparison with Japanese. Meets with undergraduate subject 21G.514, but assignments differ. Assumes familiarity with linguistic theory.

S. Miyagawa

24.947 Language Disorders in Children

Prereq: None
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

Reading and discussion of current linguistic theory, first language acquisition and language disorders in young children. Focus on development of a principled understanding of language disorders at the phonological, morphological and syntactic levels. Examines ways in which these disorders confront theories of language and acquisition.

S. Flynn

24.948 Linguistic Theory and Second and Third Language Acquisition in Children and Adults

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Spring)

3-0-6 units

Students read and discuss current linguistic theory, first language acquisition research, and data concerning second and third language acquisition in adults and children. Focuses on development of a theory of second and third language acquisition within current theories of language. Emphasizes syntactic, lexical, and phonological development. Examines ways in which these bodies of data confront theories of language and the mind. When possible, students participate in practica with second and/or third language learners.

S. Flynn

24.949[J] Language Acquisition I

Same subject as 9.601[J]
Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-6 units

See description under subject 9.601[J].

L. Koring

24.951 Introduction to Syntax

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Introduction to theories of syntax underlying work currently being done within the lexical-functional and government-binding frameworks. Organized into three interrelated parts, each focused upon a particular area of concern: phrase structure; the lexicon; and principles and parameters. Grammatical rules and processes constitute a focus of attention throughout the course that serve to reveal both modular structure of grammar and interaction of grammatical components.

S. Miyagawa, N. Richards

24.952 Advanced Syntax

Prereq: 24.951
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

Problems in constructing an explanatory theory of grammatical representation. Topics drawn from current work on anaphora, casemarking, control, argument structure, Wh- and related constructions. Study of language-particular parameters in the formulation of linguistic universals.

D. Fox, D. Pesetsky

24.954 Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

Formal theories of context-dependency, presupposition, implicature, context-change, focus and topic. Special emphasis on the division of labor between semantics and pragmatics. Applications to the analysis of quantification, definiteness, presupposition projection, conditionals and modality, anaphora, questions and answers.

D. Fox, I. Heim

24.955 More Advanced Syntax

Prereq: 24.951, 24.952
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

An advanced-level survey of topics in syntax.

S. Iatridou, L. Koring

24.956 Topics in Syntax

Prereq: 24.951
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

The nature of linguistic universals that make it possible for languages to differ and place limits on these differences. Study of selected problem areas show how data from particular languages contribute to the development of a strong theory of universal grammar and how such a theory dictates solutions to traditional problems in the syntax of particular languages.

N. Chomsky, S. Iatridou, D. Pesetsky

24.960 Syntactic Models

Prereq: 24.951, 24.952
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Comparison of different proposed architectures for the syntax module of grammar. Subject traces several themes across a wide variety of approaches, with emphasis on testable differences among models. Models discussed include ancient and medieval proposals, structuralism, early generative grammar, generative semantics, government-binding theory/minimalism, LFG, HPSG, TAG, functionalist perspectives and others.

D. Pesetsky

24.961 Introduction to Phonology

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Introduction to the current research questions in phonological theory. Topics include metrical and prosodic structure, features and their phonetic basis in speech, acquisition and parsing, phonological domains, morphology, and language change and reconstruction. Activities include problemsolving, squibs, and data collection.

E. Flemming

24.962 Advanced Phonology

Prereq: 24.961
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

Continuation of 24.961.

A. Albright, D. Steriade

24.963 Linguistic Phonetics

Subject meets with 24.915
Prereq: None
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Fall)

3-0-9 units

The study of speech sounds: how we produce and perceive them and their acoustic properties. The influence of the production and perception systems on phonological patterns and sound change. Acoustic analysis and experimental techniques. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.

E. Flemming

24.964 Topics in Phonology

Prereq: 24.961
G (Fall, Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

In-depth study of a topic in current phonological theory.

Fall: D. Steriade
Spring: E. Flemming

24.965 Morphology

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Spring)

3-0-9 units

Structure of the lexicon and its function in grammar. Properties of word-formation rules. Problems of selection, productivity, and compositionality. Systems of inflectional categories: case and tense. Phonological aspects of word structure: allomorphy, cyclic phonology, constituent structure, and boundaries. Detailed analysis of languages with complex morphology.

A. Albright, D. Pesetsky

24.966[J] Laboratory on the Physiology, Acoustics, and Perception of Speech

Same subject as 6.542[J], HST.712[J]
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Fall)

2-2-8 units

See description under subject 6.542[J].

L. D. Braida, S. Shattuck-Hufnagel

24.967 Topics in Experimental Phonology

Prereq: 24.961, 24.963, or permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Experimental techniques to test predictions drawn from current phonological theory. Includes a survey of experimental methodologies currently in use, an introduction to experimental design and analysis, and critical consideration of how experimental results are used to inform theory.

A. Albright, E. Flemming

24.970 Introduction to Semantics

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units

Basic issues of form and meaning in formalized and natural languages. Conceptual, logical, and linguistic questions about truth. Reference, modal, and intensional notions. The role of grammar in language use and context-dependency. Ambiguities of structure and meaning, and dimensions of semantic variation in syntax and the lexicon.

K. von Fintel

24.973 Advanced Semantics

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units

Current work on semantics and questions of logic and meaning for syntactic systems in generative grammar.

K. von Fintel, R. Schwarzschild

24.979 Topics in Semantics

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall, Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Seminar on current research in semantics and generative grammar. Topics may vary from year to year.

Fall: D. Fox, R. Katzir, R. Schwarzschild
Spring: I. Heim

24.981 Topics in Computational Phonology

Prereq: 24.961 or permission of instructor
Acad Year 2016-2017: Not offered
Acad Year 2017-2018: G (Spring)

3-0-9 units

Exploration of issues in the computational modeling of phonology: finding generalizations in data, formalisms for representing phonological knowledge, modeling grammar acquisition, and testing phonological theories by means of implemented models. Experience using and developing models, including preparing training data, running simulations, and interpreting their results. No background in programming or machine learning is assumed.

A. Albright

24.991 Workshop in Linguistics

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall, Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

An intensive group tutorial/seminar for discussion of research being conducted by participants. No listeners.

Fall: D. Fox, M. Kenstowicz
Spring: K. von Fintel, E. Flemming

24.993 Tutorial in Linguistics and Related Fields

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall, Spring)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

Individual or small-group tutorial in which students, under the guidance of a faculty member, explore the interrelations with linguistics of some specified area.

Consult Department Headquarters

24.THG Graduate Thesis

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer)
Units arranged
Can be repeated for credit.

Program of research and writing of thesis, to be arranged by the student with supervising committee.

Staff

24.S94 Special Seminar: Linguistics

Prereq: Permission of instructor
G (Fall; partial term)
Not offered regularly; consult department

3-0-3 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Half-term subject that covers topics in linguistics not offered in the regular curriculum. Consult department to learn of offerings for a particular term.

Staff

24.S95 Special Seminar: Linguistics

Prereq: Permission of Instructor
G (Fall)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Graduate subject that covers topics not offered in the regular curriculum. Consult department to learn of offerings for a particular term.

R. Katzir

24.S96 Special Seminar: Linguistics

Prereq: Permission of Instructor
G (Spring)
3-0-9 units
Can be repeated for credit.

Graduate subject that covers topics not offered in the regular curriculum. Consult department to learn of offerings for a particular term.

R. Katzir