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ASP326 - Language and Reality


2020 unit information

Important Update:

Classes and seminars in Trimester 2/Semester 2, 2020 will be online. Physical distancing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect delivery of other learning experiences in this unit. Please check your unit sites for announcements and updates one week prior to the start of your trimester or semester.

Last updated: 2 June 2020

Enrolment modes:

Trimester 2: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Cloud (online), CBD*

Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 2: Cathy Legg

Must have passed at least one ASP-coded level 2 unit



Incompatible with: Nil
Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150 hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - campus:

1 x 2-hour seminar per week

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

1 x 2-hour seminar per week (recordings provided)


*CBD refers to the National Indigenous Knowledges, Education, Research and Innovation (NIKERI) Institute; Community Based Delivery


How do we know what someone else's words mean? How does language "hook onto" the world in order to describe it? What is the connection between language and truth? Do different languages create different realities? If humans are distinguished from other animals by the way we use language, as many believe, what does this mean for human life?  In addressing these questions, this unit will explore some influential theories about language developed by twentieth century philosophers, many of whom famously foregrounded philosophy of language as the gateway to all other philosophical problems. Focusing on key figures from both analytic and Continental philosophy such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Rorty, Brandom and Habermas, this unit will critically examine some of philosophy's recent approaches to the understanding of language and communication.


These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit

At the completion of this unit, successful students can:

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes


Explain and articulate different philosophical approaches to the philosophy of language across analytical and continental traditions in the twentieth century

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO2: Communication


Analyse and evaluate the relationship between language, thought and reality in the context of twentieth century philosophical debates on these themes

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving


Communicate knowledge of philosophical ideas pertaining to language, including the distinction between sense and reference and theories of interpretation

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO2: Communication

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Trimester 2:
Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 (Individual) - Online Exercises 600 words 15% Ongoing
Assessment 2 (Individual) - Research and Writing Exercise 1000 words 25% Week 8
Assessment 3 (Individual) - Essay 2400 words 60% Week 11

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link below: ASP326 Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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