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Department of Linguistics and Philosophy

Heads of the department

Morris Halle 1976-1977, Acting Head
Samuel Jay Keyser 1977-1985
Richard L. Cartwright 1985-1989
Wayne O’Neil 1989-1990, Acting Head; 1990-1997, Head
Robert Stalnaker 1997-1999
Alec P. Marantz 1999-2005
Stephen Yablo 2005-2008
Irene R. Heim 2008-2011
Alex Byrne 2012, Acting Head
David Pesetsky 2013-2018
Alex Byrne 2018-

Classes in linguistics were offered within the Department of Modern Languages at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in linguistics was first offered by that department in 1961-62. In 1965 the Department of Modern Languages became the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics and in 1969, the Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics.

Prior to 1964 philosophy was taught in the Department of Humanities. The Philosophy Section was formed when a Ph.D. program in philosophy was established in July 1971.

In 1976 the curriculum in foreign languages and literatures became part of the responsibility of the Department of Humanities while the curriculum in linguistics became part of the Department of Philosophy to form the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Course XXIV. The merger of linguistics and philosophy established a center for the study of language and related cognitive areas.

The heads of the departments which preceded the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy included: William F. Bottiglia, 1965-1969, Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics; William F. Bottiglia, 1969-1973, and James W. Harris, 1973-1976, Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics; and Richard L. Cartwright, 1971-1976, Department of Philosophy.

Prepared by the Department of Distinctive Collections, MIT Libraries
October 1995; updated 2008, 2010, April 2020