•  179
    The function of consciousness
    In James H. Fetzer (ed.), Consciousness Evolving, John Benjamins. pp. 287-305. 2002.
  •  97
    thought and problem solving in persons lacking natural language altogether would be a decisive challenge, but there is no clear evidence of any abstract thinking capabilities similar to those evinced by the scientists. Pinker cites languageless persons rebuilding broken locks - this is evidence of perhaps visual imagery, but not mentalese (at least not without quite a bit more detail and argument than we are given). Spiders, e.g., build marvelous things, but no inference to spiderese appears to …Read more
  •  81
    Dretske’s Naturalizing the Mind sets out the case for holding that mental states in general are natural representers of reality. Mental states have functions; for many states the function is to indicate what is going on in the world. Among such indicator states are beliefs. The content of these states is given by what they are supposed to represent. So if a state is supposed to indicate that it’s dark, then “it’s dark” is the content of the state. Thus we can characterize how the organism takes …Read more
  •  79
    In Book II of the _Essay_, at the beginning of his discussion of language in Chapter II ("Of the Signification of Words"), John Locke writes that we humans have a variety of thoughts which might profit others, but that unfortunately these thoughts lie invisible and hidden from others. And so we use language to communicate these thoughts. As a result, "words, in their primary or immediate signification,stand for nothing but _the ideas in the mind of him that uses them_
  •  54
    Descartes refuted skepticism in 1641. George Berkeley refuted skepticism in 1710. O.K. Bouwsma refuted skepticism in 1949. Hilary Putnam refuted skepticism in 1981. The locus classicus for the form of skepticism refuted is Descartes' Meditations -- which also goes on to set out a famous realist refutation of skepticism. Indeed, Descartes is the principal inventor of the philosophic enterprise of skepticism refutation so central to Modern philosophy and its epistemic preoccupations. What the cite…Read more
  •  54
    Those who have a brief against the analytic-synthetic distinction raise problems for what seem to supporters of the distinction to be some of the clearest cases. That bachelors are unmarried seems to many to be analytically true. But to hold this seems to imply that there is a definition of "bachelor" that includes being unmarried. But critics of the analytic-synthetic distinction, such as Jerry Fodor, deny that there are true definitions (reportive, not stipulative). So there can be no definiti…Read more
  •  13
    Michael Devitt and Kim Sterelny, in their text _Language and Reality: An Introduction to Philosophy of Language_, rehearse four well-known arguments against Mill's theory. They conclude that we should follow Frege and postulate senses; the only other alternative is to follow Meinong and Lewis and inflate ontology. I will defend Mill's theory and try to show how we can respond to each of the four objections without postulating senses or inflating ontology
  •  7
    Ethical Issues in Research Supervision
    with Paula McGee
    Research Ethics 2 (3): 108-108. 2006.
  •  4
    Nowhere ǁ Erewhon
    Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (3): 255-264. 2018.
    What is nowhere? Is it a non-place that has been created by the disappearance of distinct identities in the spread of standardised, global capitalism? Or has it come about as a result of colonialisation and the separation of indigenous cultures from their lands, and their replacement with vacuous, colonised, globalised non-places? This article suggests that ‘nowhere’, which was satirically entitled, ‘Erewhon’ by Samuel Butler due to the inverted action of machines, is still being created today, …Read more