Phil 745: Announcements, Readings, and Lecture Notes

The front webpage for the course is at

Here are Zoom links for the course meetings and for Professor Pryor’s office hours.

Prof Pryor’s office hours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2–3 pm. His email is


These are in reverse-order, so the newest posts will always be at the top. The dates are when the post was first made.

Readings are in a restricted part of this site. The username and password for these were emailed to you, and will also be announced at the start of class.

Wed Oct 26

Here are readings for our final unit of the semester. I’m not sure how much we’ll get through each week, but start reading through the list at whatever pace you can manage:

Sat Oct 15

Reminder that this coming week (Thu Oct 20) the University is on break so we don’t meet. We’ll continue (and conclude) our discussion of the Groenendijk Stokhof and Veltman paper on dynamic semantics for anaphoric pronouns and epistemic modals on Thu Oct 27.

Those of you writing papers for the seminar should get the first papers (aim for 10-12 pages) to me by the end of October. Am glad to discuss your plans/work with you at any stage. The second paper, which will be due Nov 30, can either be a new paper of the same size/scope, or a substantial revision/extension of the first paper, in response to my feedback.

Thu Sept 29

Our reading for our next meeting (and we will spend multiple weeks with it) is:

You should also read again the programming language introduction we talked through in class (up to and including formula 43). We’ll begin next class by continuing that reading up to and including formula 49. Read those additional pages before class and see how much you can understand, or what questions you have, before we go through it together.

Here is some optional further reading introducing, and summarizing the main approaches to, the problem of donkey anaphora:

I posted the handout of donkey-related sentences we discussed today, including the tweak we suggested in class to formula 11.

Sat Sept 24

Some final comments on Hob/Nob:

Our initial reading for next meeting is the SEP article on Anaphora. But as I said, I may also post some additional reading here (as assigned or optional) in the next few days.

In later classes, we will look in more detail at the “dynamic semantics” approach to handling donkey anaphora that is mentioned in the SEP article.

Mon Sept 19

In addition to the Edelberg 1986 and Sandgren 2018 I asked you to look at for this week, here is another reading I suggest. It touches on a number of the issues we’ll be discussing. If you don’t have time to read all of these, focus on the Edelberg.

Thu Sept 15

Here are the notes on Geach that we discussed today.

Readings for next week posted below. As I said in class, I may add another reading to the two already posted — at least as optional reading.

Thu Sept 8

As I said in class, here are some initial reading assignments for next two weeks, but I may add some extra things to look at for one or both weeks.

If you want to read other work pursuing analogies between de se attitude reports and patterns in our de re attitude reports, here are two articles: Ninan 2012, Ninan 2013, that share some ideas with Richard 1983. But the machinery Ninan uses is different. If you want to read more about how Richard developed his views, or how others reacted to his proposals, talk to me for references.

Sun Sept 4

I prepared some handouts supplying some background for the parts of the Richard article we haven’t discussed yet, and then an annotated walk through those parts. Have a look at these before our next meeting, and work towards understanding as much of it as you can before we meet. You are welcome to get in touch with me for help. Also, our next meeting will mainly go through the annotated handout and sorting out your questions about the technical specifics. So you should already be prepared with questions when we meet. We’ll also try to evaluate how well-motivated is Richard’s decision to make reports sensitive to just those additional features of reports.

Fri Aug 26

If you want to read more about Hidden Indexical Theories and their relations to other views, I found these Notes by Jonathan Cohen useful.

For next week’s class, read Mark Richard, “Direct Reference and Ascriptions of Belief” (1983)

Sun Aug 20

Our focal reading for next week is the SEP entry on Propositional Attitude Reports (and one of its appendices). Useful background reading for these, especially if you’re new to this literature, is:

Here are the focal readings:

Some parts of Nelson’s entry will be difficult to follow if you haven’t already read and engaged with the views being discussed. I’d say you should be ready to skip Section 7 (which discusses views that would make attitude report verbs take something other than propositions as arguments, and views that would make them take unstructured propisitions — for example, sets of worlds — as arguments). Section 6 may also be challenging: we will discuss the views summarized there in class more slowly. Do read Section 8.

Of the views discussed in Section 2–5, come to class next week prepared to discuss (in other words, I will be expecting you to share your understanding/opinions about):

Here are some questions on the De Dicto/De Re supplement: