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Course Organiser and Lecturer: Patrick Greenough



Mock exam 1:

1. ‘Metaphor is entirely a semantic phenomenon’. Critically discuss.

2. Critically compare and contrast Russell’s and Frege’s conception of proper names.

3. What is understanding?

4. What is meaning scepticism? Is such a view tenable?

5. ‘Empty names lack meaning’. Critically discuss.

6. What is conversational implicature and how does it differ from other forms of implicature?


Mock exam 2:

1. What is Frege’s puzzle of identity and how best might we resolve it?

2. ‘To understand an expression is to know how to use it correctly’. Is such a view correct?

3. ‘Quine’s meaning-scepticism is fully justified’. Critically discuss.

4. ‘All singular terms are rigid designators’. Critically evaluate.

5. ‘Metaphor is entirely a pragmatic phenomenon’. Critically discuss.

6. ‘Kripkenstein’s rule-following paradox is no paradox at all’. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.


Mock exam 3:

1. What is linguistic communication?

2. ‘The concept of meaning is either empty or incoherent’. Critically discuss.

3. ‘Puck exists’. What does this statement mean?

4. What is metaphor?

5. ‘Understanding is knowledge of truth-conditions’. Critically discuss.

6. Language is puzzling in many ways. But what is the deepest linguistic puzzle you have encountered and why?


Mock exam 4:

1. ‘There are no meanings’. Critically evaluate.

2. How might we best draw the distinction between semantics and pragmatics?

3. What is meaning? How might contextual factors affect meaning?

4. What is the cluster theory of proper names? What are the virtues and vices of this theory?

5. What is a natural kind term? How do such terms function?

6. 'The pragmatic theory of metaphor is at best incomplete, at worst simply false'. Critically discuss.


Mock exam 5:

1. ‘All metaphors are false.’ Critically discuss.

2. ‘In understanding, what is implied is far more important than what is said’. Critically discuss.

3. How does Frege’s puzzle of substitution relate to the other riddles of reference? How might we best address this puzzle?

4. What are the virtues and vices of the causal theory of reference?

5. ‘Natural kind terms function in much the same way as singular terms’. Critically discuss.

6. ‘Successful communication is the passage of true beliefs from a speaker to a hearer’. Is that really how communication functions?


Mock exam 6:

1. ‘Meaning = sense + reference + implication’. Evaluate this claim.

2. ‘There are no analytic truths.’ Do you agree?

3. What is Davidson’s theory of metaphor? Is it better than its rivals?

4. ‘The nature of understanding is a mystery’. Critically discuss.

5. ‘Language is a rule-governed activity’. Critically evaluate this claim.

6. What is conventional implicature and how does it differ from conversational implicature?


Mock exam 7:

1. In what ways does context affect what is implied by an utterance?

2. Are proper names just disguised definite descriptions?

3. ‘Metaphors are disguised similes’. Is that a good theory of metaphor?

4. Why is language so successful?

5. ‘There is no more to meaning than reference’. What are the virtues and vices of this view?

6. What is the Wittgensteinian solution to the rule-following paradox?


Mock exam 8:

1. ‘What is said is a function of sense, reference, and context’. Critically discuss.

2. ‘Metaphorical assertions are often true’. Evaluate this claim.

3. ‘All truths are synthetic.’ Discuss.

4. What is the best version of the causal-historical theory of meaning?

5. ‘There are no singular terms’. Why might one want to hold such a view?

6. ‘The rule-following paradox is just another version of the private language argument’. Critically discuss.


Mock exam 9:

1. What is Russell’s principle? Is this principle valid?

2. What is Frege’s conception of meaning? Are there good reasons to accept such a conception?

3. Is Quine’s attack on meaning cogent?

4. Did Wittgenstein offer a sceptical solution to his rule-following paradox?

5. Can the notion of implication help us to understand Moore’s paradox?

6. What is reference?


Mock exam 10:

1. What is the Frege-Russell thesis? Is it right to accept such a thesis?

2. 'Meaning = truth conditions'. Critically discuss.

3. What distinguishes metaphorical from non-metaphorical discourse?

4. ‘Language has no meaning’. What do you make of such a claim?

5. What conditions must obtain before one can be said to understand a language?

6. ‘The meaning of an expression is a function of many things’. Critically discuss.

Philosophy at St Andrews

Last modified: 8th Feb 2004. The SDG Web PageMy PictureMy e-mail addressMIT