Past courses

Masters and Ph.D. course: Mind and the Institutions of Meaning

This spring Professor Sharon Rider will be giving a graduate course titled Mind and the Institutions of Meaning at Uppsala University. The first session will be held on Wednesday April 17.

This course is mainly aimed at doctoral candidates (from all fields). Doctoral candidates who wish to apply must send a brief email stating their interest to Mats Hyvönen: no later than Monday April 8.

It is also open to masters students enrolled in one of Uppsala University's masters programs. Masters students who are interested in taking the course must first receive approval from the director of studies at the advanced level at their own department. For masters students applying to the course, please fill in the following form [click on this link to download the form] and send it via email to Mats Hyvönen: no later than Monday April 8. 

This course is also open to C-level students of Philosophy. C-level students who wish to apply must send a brief email stating their interest to Mats Hyvönen: no later than Monday April 8.

Course description
Holism is the idea that an object or phenomenon is more than the sum of its parts. But analysis, which is crucial to human comprehension, involves the mind breaking down an object of thought into its components, dismantling the whole in order to grasp it bit by bit and relationally. In this course, we will study meaning, not fundamentally as a property of mental representations, but as something arising in social existence, and tied to practices involved in ordinary speech and action. On this account, to understand what an individual “believes” or “wants” (to apply psychological words to a person), we must take into account the full historical and institutional context in which what he says or does is embedded. We will address issues such as to what extent it is possible that two people share the same thought if they do not share the same conceptual framework. In order to answer such questions, we will consider a logic of relations that can explain the human ability to analyze structures based on their parts, by looking at ideas and studies from anthropology, linguistics, and social theory, as well as philosophy.

Course literature
The course literature consists of Vincent Descombes’ The Institutions of Meaning (Harvard UP, 2014) and a compendium of texts that will be made available at the start of the course.

Language: English
Course name:
Mind and the Institutions of Meaning
Level: Masters and Ph.D.
Credits: 7,5
Course syllabus: Click this link to download the course syllabus

17 April, 11-14, room 4-0019English Park Campus – Centre for the humanities
23 April, 11-14, room 4-0019
25 April, 12-15, room 4-0019
29 April, 11-14, room 4-0019
6 Maj, 11-14, room  4-0019
9 Maj, 13-16, room 4-0019