An introduction to the scientific analysis of the structure and uses of language. Core areas covered include phonetics and phonology, morphology, the lexicon, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, with data from a wide range of languages. Additional topics include language acquisition, language and the brain, and language change.
Introduction to Language and Linguistics
Professor/InstructorByron T. Ahn, Christiane Dorothea Fellbaum, Laura Kalin
Babies, who look like helpless blobs, are capable of impressive feats of learning. 3-year-olds, who can't cross the street alone, know an astounding amount of information about their environments. We will focus on landmark studies that elucidate how children's biology, cognition, language, and social experiences interact to set the stage for what we do and who we are. Is the baby's world a 'blooming, buzzing confusion', or do babies enter the world prepared to make sense of their environments? How can we understand the collaboration between nature and nurture during development? Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Professor/InstructorJordan A. Taylor
The course will survey discoveries and progress made over the past 50 years of research, from classic experimental findings and fundamental theoretical principles to the cutting edge of research that lies increasingly at the interface of psychology with neuroscience (neural mechanisms underlying cognitive processes), computer science (artificial intelligence and machine learning), and mathematics (formal models of complex processes). Topics will include perception, attention, memory, decision making, reasoning, problem solving, language, and cognitive control. Two lectures, one laboratory.
Philosophy of Mind
Investigation of some of the following (or similar) topics: the mind-body problem, personal identity, the unity of consciousness, the unconscious, the problem of other minds, action, intention, and the will. Readings primarily from recent sources. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences
An examination of philosophical problems arising out of the scientific study of cognition. Possible topics include methodological issues in the cognitive sciences; the nature of theories of reasoning, perception, memory, and language; and the philosophical implications of such theories. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Philosophy of Bias: Psychology, Epistemology, and Ethics of Stereotypes
Professor/InstructorGrace Elizabeth Helton
Designed to introduce advanced students to empirical results in the psychology of group-based bias, to analyze these results along several philosophically important dimensions. We will discuss approaches to the semantics of generic statements, such as 'dogs bark', and consider whether these approaches extend to linguistic expressions of stereotypes, such as 'women are nurturing.' We will explore the psychological nature of stereotypes, as informed by both empirical findings and philosophical insights. The students will consider the epistemic import of stereotypes. Finally, we will consider several ethical views of stereotypes.