•  178
    Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4): 911-933. 2018.
    The article examines the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke–Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed—micro-essentialism—is untenable even in a ‘placeholder’ version; and that the currently popular homeostatic property clust…Read more
  •  481
    Semantic Externalism and Psychological Externalism
    Philosophy Compass 3 (1): 158-181. 2008.
    Externalism is widely endorsed within contemporary philosophy of mind and language. Despite this, it is far from clear how the externalist thesis should be construed and, indeed, why we should accept it. In this entry I distinguish and examine three central types of externalism: what I call foundational externalism, externalist semantics, and psychological externalism. I suggest that the most plausible version of externalism is not in fact a very radical thesis and does not have any terribly int…Read more
  •  3
    Social Externalism and Non-Empirical Errors
    The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 32 138-144. 1998.
    I consider an individualist reply to Burge's well-known anti-individualist thought experiment. It is commonly assumed that the individualist has one of two options: accept that reference is socially determined and opt for a bifurcation of content ; or reject the conclusions of the thought experiment and insist that Burge's patient uttering "I have arthritis in my thigh" has her or his own "arthritis"-concept and utters a true belief. I suggest that neither of these options is very attractive and…Read more
  •  279
    It is widely held that the meaning of certain types of terms, such as natural kind terms, is individuated externalistically, in terms of the individual's external environment. Recently a more radical thesis has emerged, a thesis we dub 'a posteriori semantics.' The suggestion is that not only does a term's meaning depend on the external environment, but so does its semantics. One motivation for this is the aim to account for cases where a putative natural kind term fails to pick out a natural ki…Read more
  •  60
    Transparency and Self-Knowledge
    Analysis 80 (2): 371-380. 2020.
  •  186
    Are There Understanding-Assent Links?
    The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5. 2009.
    Abstract: It is commonly held that there are internal links between understanding and assent such that being semantically competent with an expression requires accepting certain sentences as true. The paper discusses a recent challenge to this conception of semantic competence, posed by Timothy Williamson (2007). According to Williamson there are no understanding-assent links of the suggested sort, no internal connection between semantic competence and belief. I suggest that Williamson is quite …Read more
  •  533
    Semantic normativity
    Philosophical Studies 102 (2): 203-26. 2001.
    My paper examines the popular idea, defended by Kripke, that meaning is an essentially normative notion. I consider four common versions of this idea and suggest that none of them can be supported, either because the alleged normativity has nothing to do with normativity or because it cannot plausibly be said that meaning is normative in the sense suggested. I argue that contrary to received opinion, we don’t need normativity to secure the possibility of meaning. I conclude by considering the …Read more
  •  72
    © 2013 The Editors of The Philosophical QuarterlyOpening this book the philosopher might expect a treatise on self‐knowledge. However, despite its title, this is not a book on knowledge of our own minds, or even on self‐consciousness in the usual sense of being conscious of oneself. Rather, it is a book on developmental psychology, spelling out the fascinating details of the development of the human mind with a particular focus on the emergence of human consciousness. The question Radu J. Bogdan…Read more
  •  78
    Concepts stand at the centre of human cognition. We use concepts in categorizing objects and events in the world, in reasoning and action, and in social interaction. It is therefore not surprising that the study of concepts constitutes a central area of research in philosophy and psychology, yet only recently have the two disciplines developed greater interaction. Recent experiments in psychology that test the role of concepts in categorizing and reasoning have found a great deal of variation, a…Read more
  •  27
    Reasons for Belief and Normativity
    In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity, Oxford University Press. pp. 575-599. 2018.
    The Nature of Belief.
  •  199
    Social Externalism and Conceptual Errors
    Philosophical Quarterly 51 (203): 217-231. 2001.
    Ever since Putnam and Burge launched their respective attacks on individualist accounts of meaning the individualist has felt squeezed for space.1 Very little maneuvering room, it seems, is left for the philosopher who wants to deny that meaning and mental content depend on the speaker's social environment. One option, popular amongst individualists, is to grant that reference is socially determined but argue that there is nevertheless a notion of meaning or content that can be understood indivi…Read more
  •  39
    At the center of Gauker's book stands two inter-connected theses: First, that concepts are dependent on language; second, that this requires rejecting the traditional idea that linguistic communication involves a transmission of thoughts. I argue that we cannot afford to reject the traditional conception of communication and that Gauker's alternative ‘cooperative' conception is unsatisfactory. However, I also argue that Gauker is wrong to suggest that the language dependency thesis of concepts i…Read more
  •  252
    Naming natural kinds
    Synthese 145 (1): 65-87. 2005.
    This paper discusses whether it can be known a priori that a particular term, such as water, is a natural kind term, and how this problem relates to Putnams claim that natural kind terms require an externalist semantics. Two conceptions of natural kind terms are contrasted: The first holds that whether water is a natural kind term depends on its a priori knowable semantic features. The second
  •  145
    We have claimed that truth norms cannot provide genuine guidance for belief formation. Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen argues that our ‘no guidance argument’ fails because it conflates certain psychological states an agent must have in order to apply the truth norm with the condition under which the norm prescribes forming certain beliefs. We spell out the no guidance argument in more detail and show that there is no such conflation.
  •  170
    Can externalist concepts really capture an individual
  •  47
    On self-knowledge and grasping the content of one's own thoughts
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (2): 229-260. 2001.
  •  111
    An a posteriori conception of analyticity?
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 66 (1): 119-139. 2003.
    At the time that Quine wrote "Two Dogmas" an attack on analyticity was considered a simultaneous attack on the very idea of necessary truth. This all changed with Kripke's revival of a non-epistemic, non-linguistic notion of necessity. My paper discusses the question whether we can take Kripke one step further and free analyticity from its epistemic ties, thereby reinstating a notion of analyticity that is immune to Quine's attack, and compatible with his epistemic holism. I discuss this questio…Read more
  •  134
    Externalism and incomplete understanding
    Philosophical Quarterly 54 (215): 287-294. 2004.
    Sarah Sawyer has challenged my claim that social externalism depends on the assumption that individuals have an incomplete grasp of their own concepts. Sawyer denies that Burge's later sofa thought-experiment relies on this assumption: the unifying principle behind the thought-experiments supporting social externalism, she argues, is just that referents play a role in the individuation of concepts. I argue that Sawyer fails to show that social externalism need not rely on the assumption of incom…Read more
  •  148
    Review of Jessica Brown, Anti-Individualism and Knowledge (review)
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13 525-541. 2005.
    During the last decade Jessica Brown has been one of the main participants in the on-going debate over the compatibility of anti-individualism and self-knowledge. It is therefore of great interest that she is now publishing a book examining the various epistemological consequences of anti-individualism. The book is divided into three sections. The first discusses the question of whether a subject can have privileged access to her own thoughts, even if the content of her thoughts is construed ant…Read more
  •  228
    Self-Knowledge and Knowledge of Content
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (3): 399-424. 2008.
    The question of whether content externalism poses a threat to the traditional view of self-knowledge has been much debated. Compatibilists have tried to diffuse the threat by appealing to the self-verifying character of reflexive judgments about our own thoughts, while incompatibilists have strenuously objected that this does not suffice. In my paper I argue that this debate is fundamentally misconceived since it is based, on both sides, on the problematic notion of ‘knowledge of content’. What …Read more
  • Andre Gallois, The World Without. The Mind Within
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 8 (n/a): 135-137. 2000.
  •  2
    Linguistic Freedom: An Essay on Meaning and Rules
    Dissertation, Columbia University. 1996.
    The thesis examines a central and controversial question in the philosophy of mind and language: Is meaning normative? Are there rules we must follow for our words to have meaning? ;Philosophers are sharply divided over this question. One side, often associated with Wittgenstein and more recently Kripke, sees meaning as essentially normative. If a sign is to be meaningful, then surely, it is argued, there must be a distinction between the correct and incorrect use of that sign. The other side es…Read more
  •  238
    The normativity of meaning and content
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2009.
    There is a long tradition of thinking of language as conventional in its nature, dating back at least to Aristotle De Interpretatione ). By appealing to the role of conventions, it is thought, we can distinguish linguistic signs, the meaningful use of words, from mere natural ‘signs’. During the last century the thesis that language is essentially conventional has played a central role within philosophy of language, and has even been called a platitude (Lewis 1969). More recently, the focus has …Read more