I thought I'd post a comment on class attendance since some questions have come up. According to the syllabus, participation can help you but cannot hurt you. It is of course difficult to participate in class if you're not there. But you can participate on this blog. Attendance, however, is not a course requirement so people will not be punished directly for not attending.
That said, there is a penalty for not attending class. Apart from the intrinsic value of attending a class you're paying for and learning stuff, blah, blah, blah, there's the pragmatic point that what we're doing in class is highly relevant to the paper assignments that will come later. I can assure you that you'll have a hard time on the assignments if you don't come to class and understand what we're talking about there. Additionally, a lot of the stuff that we talk about in class that does not occur explicitly in the readings. There is no assigned intro to philosophy of language book that neatly recaps the theories and arguments we cover in class. Nor does one exist. So that material is material you can only get by coming to class or by getting notes off of someone who takes really good notes and is kind enough to share them with you. I will not give notes to people who missed nor will I post them anywhere. Getting notes is your responsibility.
Most people have been good about showing up so far and I know things just happen sometimes that prevent people from attending. Not a big deal. The point of this post is just to put to rest concerns about the role of attendance in this class.