Prerequisite: One PHIL course or permission of instructor.
Humans can think about things and events in the external world, including those that are very remote. We have beliefs about Pluto, couches, the weather, and our moral obligations, to name a few. This is an obvious, but remarkable fact---and arguably, one that sets humans aside from animals like ants or mosquitoes. Philosophers have raised a number of questions about it: what does it take to have a capacity to represent the world outside of us? How is this capacity related to the capacity to draw inferences, and how is it related to consciousness? Can we have a science of meaning, in the same way as we have, for example, a science of the brain? This course will address these and related questions, focusing on contemporary work in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science.