•  81
    Does the Argument from Realization Generalize? Responses to Kim
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 39 (1): 79-98. 2001.
    By quantifying over properties we cannot create new properties any more than by quantifying over individuals we can create new individuals. Someone murdered Jones, and the murderer is either Smith or Jones or Wang. That “someone”, who murdered Jones, is not a person in addition to Smith, Jones, and Wang, and it would be absurd to posit a disjunctive person, Smith-or-Jones-or-Wang, with whom to identify the murderer. The same goes for second-order properties and their realizers. (Kim (1997a), p.2…Read more
  •  63
    Conceptual Role Semantics and Rationality
    Acta Analytica 33 (2): 271-289. 2018.
    Conceptual role semanticists argue that concepts are individuated in terms of their roles in cognition. Some prominent conceptual role semanticists argue for the further claim that concepts are individuated in terms of their rational roles in cognition. This further claim places substantive normative constraints on concept-constitutive roles. I argue that conceptual role semanticists can and should resist the claim that conceptual roles must be specified in inherently normative terms.
  •  56
    Which Are the Genuine Properties?
    Metaphilosophy 46 (1): 104-126. 2015.
    This article considers three views about which properties are genuine. According to the first view, we should look to successful commonsense and scientific explanations in determining which properties are genuine. On this view, predicates that figure in such explanations thereby pick out genuine properties. According to the second view, the only predicates that pick out genuine properties are those that figure in our best scientific explanations. On this view, predicates that figure in commonsen…Read more
  •  83
    Concepts and Analytic Intuitions
    Analytic Philosophy 57 (4): 285-314. 2016.
    In this paper I defend the view that positing analytic, constitutive connections among concepts best explains certain semantic-cum-conceptual intuitions. Jerry Fodor and Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence offer alternative explanations according to which such intuitions can be explained without positing analyticities. I argue that these alternative explanations fail. As a partial diagnosis of their failure, I suggest that critics have failed to recognize the extent to which a psychologized notio…Read more
  •  89
    Laws, the Inference Problem, and Uninstantiated Universals
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (4): 496-520. 2014.
    The difficulties facing Humean regularity accounts of laws have led some philosophers to a theory that takes laws to be necessitation relations between universals. In this paper I evaluate David Armstrong's version of this theory by considering two of its key elements: its solution to the so-called “Inference Problem” and its denial of uninstantiated universals. After considering some potential problems with each of these elements on their own, I argue that Armstrong's solution to the Inference …Read more
  •  104
    Why Dispositions are (Still) Distinct from their Bases and Causally Impotent
    American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (1). 2005.
    It has now been over twenty years since Elizabeth Prior, Robert Pargetter, and Frank Jackson (1982) published their classic paper on dispositions, in which they defend the following theses: (1) The Distinctness Thesis: Each disposition is distinct from its base. (2) The Impotence Thesis: Dispositions are causally impotent.1..
  •  158
    Recognitional concepts have the following characteristic property: thinkers are disposed to apply them to objects merely on the basis of undergoing certain perceptual experiences. I argue that a prominent strategy for defending the existence of constitutive connections among concepts, which appeals to thinkers’ semantic-cum-conceptual intuitions, cannot be used to defend the existence of recognitional concepts. I then outline and defend an alternative argument for the existence of recognitiona…Read more
  •  229
    It is commonplace in cognitive science that concepts are individuated in terms of the roles they play in the cognitive lives of thinkers, a view that Jerry Fodor has recently been dubbed ‘Concept Pragmatism’. Quinean critics of Pragmatism have long argued that it founders on its commitment to the analytic/synthetic distinction, since without such a distinction there is plausibly no way to distinguish constitutive from non-constitutive roles in cognition. This paper considers Fodor’s empirical ar…Read more
  •  66
    Jerry Fodor
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1. 2010.
    Jerry Fodor was one of the most important philosophers of mind of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In addition to exerting an enormous influence on virtually all parts of the literature in the philosophy of mind since 1960, Fodor’s work had a significant impact on the development of the cognitive sciences. In the 1960s, along with Hilary Putnam, Noam Chomsky, and others, Fodor presented influential criticisms of the behaviorism that dominated much philosophy and psychology at…Read more
  •  194
    Concept Cartesianism, Concept Pragmatism, and Frege Cases
    Philosophical Studies 144 (2): 211-238. 2009.
    This paper concerns the dialectal role of Frege Cases in the debate between Concept Cartesians and Concept Pragmatists. I take as a starting point Christopher Peacocke’s argument that, unlike Cartesianism, his ‘Fregean’ Pragmatism can account for facts about the rationality and epistemic status of certain judgments. I argue that since this argument presupposes that the rationality of thoughts turn on their content, it is thus question-begging against Cartesians, who claim that issues about ratio…Read more
  •  38
    The Rules of Thought
    Philosophical Psychology 29 (2): 310-314. 2016.
  •  181
    An electron clearly has the property of having a charge of þ1.6 10 19 coulombs, but does it also have the property of being charged ? Philosophers have worried whether so-called ‘determinable’ predicates, such as ‘is charged’, actually refer to determinable properties in the way they are happy to say that determinate predicates, such as ‘has a charge of þ1.6 10 19 coulombs’, refer to determinate properties. The distinction between determinates and determinables is itself fairly new, dating only …Read more
  •  127
    Lot 2: The language of thought revisited (review)
    Philosophical Psychology 22 (4). 2009.
    It has been over thirty years since the publication of Jerry Fodor’s landmark book The Language of Thought (LOT 1). In LOT 2: The Language of Thought Revisited, Fodor provides an update on his thoughts concerning a range of topics that have been the focus of his work in the intervening decades. The Representational Theory of Mind (RTM), the central thesis of LOT 1, remains intact in LOT 2: mental states are relations between organisms and syntactically-structured mental representations, and ment…Read more