78012 - Mind and Language (1)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

This course will introduce to some central topics and arguments in the philosophy of mind and language in the tradition of analytic philosophy. The main aim is to engage in detail with some arguments and texts that have played a central role in contemporary discussions. Possible topics include: the nature of linguistic and mental content, the nature of thought and its relation to linguistic understanding; what is reference and meaning and what are their relations to intentionality and concepts; the relation between our inferential and representiational abilities and the nature of our rationality; the nature and our knowledge of our mental states; the relation between the physical and the mental domains. Students will acquire an understanding of some central topics in the philosophy of mind and language and they will be in a position to explain and to engage competently orally and in writing with these problems. More specifically they will be in a position to: * master the central concepts in the theory of language and mind; * understand the philosophical positions involved on the debates; * understand the arguments in favour or against the relevant philosophical theses; * have some appreciation of the significance of these issues for other areas of philosophy.

Course contents

COMPLETE SYLLABUS: https://virtuale.unibo.it/mod/resource/view.php?id=625469

Paradossi sullo spazio tempo

Space-time paradoxes

The course will introduce to some of the paradoxes on space-time that are prominent in the philosophical tradition.

Paradoxes are arguments that afflict the mind that trap reason into confusion and bafflement. Can these paradoxes solved? Are our difficulties with these puzzles related to the working of our mind?

The paradoxes that will be addressed are:

- Zeno's paradoxes: they challenge the idea that space is composed of a plurality of things and that movement is possible;

- time travel paradoxes: they present difficulties related to retrocausation that make it difficult to conceive that one can travel in time;

- the paradoxes on the freedom of the will: they question the possibility of acting freely due to the causal structure of space-time.


Class schedule

III period: Monday 1pm-3pm (aula A, via Centotrecento), Wednesday 1pm-3pm (aula D, via Centotrecento), Thursday 1pm-3pm (aula A, via Zamboni 32).



 The course will based on a selection from the following texts:

  1. Sainsbury , M.R. Paradoxes, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 3a edizione, 2009

  2. Earl Conee and Ted Sider, Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Furthermore, articles cited in these texts may be analysed during the course.

Teaching methods

Together with the standard classroom lectures, I will employ quizzies on the elearning system and I will experiment the teaching method of peer instruction.

Assessment methods


The exam will consist in the elaboration of a written essay. The length of the paper is diversified depending on whether you are attending or not.

  • ATTENDANTS short essay: at least 1500 words and no more than 3000 words (all inclusive: name, surname, serial number, course of study, title, bibliography.)
  • NON-ATTENDANTS long essay: at least 3000 words and not more than 4000 words (all inclusive: name, surname, serial number, course of study, title, bibliography.


I will use these criteria to determine the following assessment thresholds:

30 and praise excellent proof, both in knowledge and in the critical and expressive articulation.

30 excellent test, complete knowledge, well articulated and correctly expressed, with some critical ideas.

27-29 good test, comprehensive and satisfactory knowledge, substantially correct expression.

24-26 discrete test, knowledge present in the substantial points, but not exhaustive and not always correctly articulated.

21-23 sufficient proof, knowledge present in a sometimes superficial way, but the general thread is understood. Short and often inappropriate and incomplete expression and articulation.

18-21 superficial knowledge, the common thread is not understood with continuity. The expression and the articulation of the discourse also have significant gaps.

<18 insufficient evidence, absent or very incomplete knowledge, lack of orientation in the discipline, defective and inappropriate expression. Examination not passed.

Teaching tools

Slides, elearning and Wooclap software for the peer instruction method.

Office hours

See the website of Sebastiano Moruzzi