COM 513 / MOD 580

Topics in Literature and Philosophy: SentencesCourse Cancelled

Daniel Heller-Roazen

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Sentences are objects crucial to several disciplines: grammar, logic, law, literature and philosophy. This seminar explores some of their conditions, limits and paradoxes. What distinguishes one kind of sentence from another? How can a command, for example, do things that a question cannot do? Why is it difficult, even impossible, to rephrase an exclamation as a statement? Reading works of literature, philosophy and linguistics, we focus on five basic sentence types: the question, exclamation, command, assertion and negation. We also consider the acts to which they are tied, from rulings to insults, prayers, judgment and curses.

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