cod. 1009184

Academic year 2024/25
2° year of course - Second semester
Annalisa COLIVA
Academic discipline
Filosofia e teoria dei linguaggi (M-FIL/05)
Istituzioni di filosofia
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

1. The course introduces the main themes of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language. In this way, students are initiated into the understanding of key notions and the most widely debated issues in the discipline on the theme of the theory of meaning and of the language mind-world relationship.
2. Through the analysis of key texts of the Wittgensteinian production, at the end of the course students will have acquired the ability to understand crucial themes of the theory of meaning, in its complex nuances and relationships with metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of mind and knowledge. Students will be able to apply the knowledge learned to the analysis of the texts examined during the course.
3-4. The course aims to promote an active participation of the students in the exposition and discussion of the fundamental issues addressed, promoting a reworking of theories, concepts and arguments useful for understanding them by fostering the ability to present their point of view in a reasoned way.
5.At the end of the course students will be able to orientate themselves in the central themes of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy and, consequently, of the contemporary philosophy of language, and to deepen some of the specific themes analyzed during the course.



Course unit content

The course will focus on the philosophy of one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein. We will examine his main texts - Tractatus logico-philosophicus, Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty - highlighting the elements of continuity and discontinuity. The themes dealt with will focus on the different conceptions of meaning proposed by Wittgenstein throughout his philosophical career, their implications for metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of mind and knowledge.

Full programme

By directly reading some of the main works of one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, we will address numerous themes of
- philosophy of language (nature of linguistic meaning; sense/nonsense, nature of empirical, logical, ethical, metaphysical propositions; following a rule)
- philosophy of mind (relation of thought to language, private language, knowledge of the minds of others);
- and epistemology (scepticism, certainty, common sense, knowledge, hinge propositions).


Wittgenstein, L. [1921] Tractatus logico-philosophicus, Einaudi, (qualsiasi edizione).
Wittgenstein, L. [1953] Ricerche filosofiche, Einaudi, (qualsiasi edizione).
Wittgenstein, L. [1975] Della certezza, Einaudi, (qualsiasi edizione).
Perissinotto, L. Wittgenstein. Una guida, Feltrinelli, 2017.

Teaching methods


Assessment methods and criteria

For students who have attended at least 75% of classes, the evaluation will be done through a written examination. The test will consist of a 3,000-word essay on a course topic of student’s choice, agreed with the instructor. The information regarding how to write the essay will be provided in class. The student must submit the essay to the instructor at least one week before the exam. For students who have not attended at least 75% of classes, besides the final essay, there will be a written test with six open questions – two each for any of Wittgenstein’s main works analyzed throughout the course.

Other information