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Gottlob Frege Lecturs in Theoretical Philosophy 2015

Jennifer Saul: "Language that Matters: Politically and Ethically significant Speech"

The Lecturer

Jennifer Saul

Jennifer Saul is head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Sheffield, UK. Saul's primary research is in analytic philosophy of language and feminist philosophy. In her most recent book, Lying, Misleading and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics (Oxford University Press 2012), she argues that the distinction between lying and misleading is theoretically significant and illuminates a variety of issues in philosophy of language concerning semantic content, implicature, and assertion. Moreover, because it is also an ethically meaningful distinction, it demonstrates some ways in which communication and speech are apt for ethical analysis.
In philosophy of language, Saul is also known for her work on substitution of co-referential terms in simple sentences. In 2007, Saul published Simple Sentences, Substitution and Intuitions (Oxford University Press) in which she develops her views on these issues with attention to their methodological implications.
In feminist philosophy, Saul is known for her book Feminism: Issues & Arguments, Oxford University Press (2003), an introductory text that explores a variety of feminist views and explores their application to controversies over such topics as pornography, abortion, and veiling.
From 2011-2013, Saul was Director of the Leverhulme-funded Implicit Bias and Philosophy International Research Project. The project brought together nearly 100 researchers in philosophy and psychology to explore the implications of research on implicit bias and related topics for epistemology, philosophy of mind, and moral/political philosophy. Jennifer Saul is Director of the Society for Women in Philosophy UK and Co-Chair of the British Philosophical Association's Women in Philosophy Committee. She is on the Editorial Board for Symposia in Gender, Race, and Philosophy, and on the Analysis Committee. In 2011 she received Distinguished Woman Philosopher Award in Washington, DC by the Society for Women in Philosophy.

The Topic

Jennifer Saul's 2015 Frege Lectures, "Language that Matters: Politically and Ethically Significant Speech", concern a collection of issues at the under-explored intersection of philosophy of language with moral and political philosophy. The first two lectures explore subtle ways of communicating racist ideas that are no longer considered fit for explicit expression. Lectures 3 and 4 explore the distinction between lying and misleading, exploring both the proper way to draw this distinction and its ethical significance. Lecture 5 steps back from specifically linguistic issues to look at reasons for the under-representation of women and members of other (and overlapping) groups. Lecture 6 returns to philosophy of language with a close look at the pragmatics of efforts to rectify this under-representation.

The Lectures

June 30:
11:15-12:45: Dogwhistles: Political Manipulation and Philosophy of Language
15:15-16:45: Generics Don't Essentialise People; People Essentialise People!

July 1:
11:15-12:45: Just Go Ahead and Lie
15:15-16:45: Lying, Misleading and What is Said

July 2:
11:15-12:45: Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat and Women in Academia
15:15-16:45: The Pragmatics of Inclusivity


The Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy


Gottlob Frege (1848-1925)
The Gottlob Frege Lectures in Theoretical Philosophy are named in honour of the German mathematician and philosopher Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege. We have chosen Frege as the patron for our lecture series as he is widely recognised for his clarity and unpretentious, no-nonsense style of dealing with philosophical problems. So are the lecturers we are honoured to host in Tartu.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry:

Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (b. 1848, d. 1925) was a German mathematician, logician, and philosopher who worked at the University of Jena. Frege essentially reconceived the discipline of logic by constructing a formal system which, in effect, constituted the first ‘predicate calculus’. In this formal system, Frege developed an analysis of quantified statements and formalized the notion of a ‘proof’ in terms that are still accepted today. Frege then demonstrated that one could use his system to resolve theoretical mathematical statements in terms of simpler logical and mathematical notions. One of the axioms that Frege later added to his system, in the attempt to derive significant parts of mathematics from logic, proved to be inconsistent. Nevertheless, his definitions (of the predecessor relation and of the concept of natural number) and methods (for deriving the axioms of number theory) constituted a significant advance. To ground his views about the relationship of logic and mathematics, Frege conceived a comprehensive philosophy of language that many philosophers still find insightful. However, his lifelong project, of showing that mathematics was reducible to logic, was not successful.

Revision: 2015/06/29 - 12:59