Review Comment

[PHIL G9485] Philosophy of Language

February 24, 2009

Rothschild, Daniel
[PHIL G9485] Philosophy of Language

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Daniel is great at explaining rather complicated concepts. Additionally, he's honest and careful not to make claims about things he isn't sure of. He's approachable, makes an effort to work with students outside of office hours, and knows his subject (philosophy of language) very well. I've heard, more than once, that students have a hard time understanding him when he speaks too quickly. He does sometimes speak quickly, but it's never been a problem for me.

Also, he's anti-possible-worlds. I recommend his classes.

Workload:

A few articles to read each week, presentation, mid-term paper, final paper. About dead-average.

December 17, 2005

Gaifman, Haim
[PHIL G9485] Philosophy of Language

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor Gaifman is one of the most attentive professors I have ever had at Columbia who will take interest and become personally invested in your success in the class with one (easily avoidable) catch--it is up to the student to initiate the dialogue, and to do so early on in the course. The course is challenging and invovles lots of (very confusing) readings that go quite in depth on certain issues (what on Earth is Wittgenstein REALLY trying to say...ever?), as the subject is quite abstract and requires at least a basic understanding of elementary logic. His lectures are well-organized and his presentation of the material is thorough and clear.

He is a tough grader, but like I said, he is not at all unfair. Be sure to go to office hours whenever possible, to attend most of the lectures, and to go to office hours. He has been one of my favorite professors at Columbia, and even though this has been one of the most challenging classes I have taken, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

Workload:

Three or Four Short Assignments, and a final paper that requires a lot if individual research (read: TIME), since it is not based on the articles in the Reader.

July 12, 2005

Gaifman, Haim
[PHIL G9485] Philosophy of Language

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Do the reading -- in fact, do the reading twice; you'll have to, because if you don't go back and read the first paper he gives you (usually two a week) after you read the second, you'll miss the point, which is usually to explore both sides of one of the key debates in philosophy of language.

Gives excellent short (1 page, but will tolerate single-spacing) assignments that are meant to force you to work through the questions that tie the material together. These are difficult and he doesn't tolerate bullshit -- as he says, "If you make a good effort and write like a philosopher I'll probably give you some grade like A-, and if you get it all wrong I'll probably give you some grade like D-". After a few of these everyone got with the program and I don't think there were a lot of "D-" homework grades given out.

Sometimes he will tell you you got something wrong and that you need to go to his office hours. Put up with the hassle of actually catching up with him: he's old-fashioned and it's a lot easier to use the phone than to try email. He will spend as much time as you have explaining almost any topic to you and working through the implications.

The final paper topics are mindbogglingly difficult. I think he graded them with some degree of mercy. Here, again, it pays to go to office hours.

Workload:

Short but very difficult readings -- 30 or 40 pages per week. Short written assignments most weeks, trailing off towards the end of the class. One very, very difficult paper summarizing a topic covered in the reader but not in class -- almost like having to write a textbook chapter on a topic you've just learned, yowch!

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PHIL / PHIL PHIL PHIL G9485: Philosophy of Language Daniel Rothschild 2009 Spring W / 2:10- 4:00 PM 1