•  10
    Talking About: An Intentionalist Theory of Reference
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    I develop and argue for a new intentionalist theory of the speech act of singular reference. Specifically, I propose a Gricean theory of pragmatic competence within which referential competence can be identified and explained. I argue that combining insights from theories of mechanistic explanation in cognitive science and intentionalist theories of speech acts affords a completely new perspective on old questions about reference and speaker meaning. The resulting theory is called edenic intenti…Read more
  •  54
    Compositionality and Expressive Power: Comments on Pietroski
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 20 (3): 295-310. 2020.
    Paul Pietroski has developed a powerful minimalist and internalist alternative to standard compositional semantics, where meanings are identified with instructions to fetch or assemble human concepts in specific ways. In particular, there appears to be no need for Fregean Function Application, as natural language composition only involves processes of combining monadic or dyadic concepts, and Pietroski’s theory can then, allegedly, avoid both singular reference and truth conditions. He also has …Read more
  •  56
    I develop and argue for a novel theory of the mental state of identity confusion. I also argue that this mental state can corrupt the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication. Finally, I propose a theory according to which identity confusion should be treated as a the source of a new sort of linguistic performance error, similar to malapropism, slips of the tongue, and so-called intentional obfuscation (inducing false belief by manipulating language in specific ways). Going …Read more
  •  451
    Silencing without Convention
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2): 573-598. 2019.
    Silencing is usually explained in terms of conventionalism about the nature of speech acts. More recently, theorists have tried to develop intentionalist theories of the phenomenon. I argue, however, that if intentionalists are to accommodate the conventionalists' main insight, namely that silencing can be so extreme as to render certain types of speech act completely unavailable to victims, they must take two assumptions on board. First, it must be possible that speakers' communicative intentio…Read more
  •  1209
    Frege’s puzzle is about identity after all
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3): 628-643. 2019.
    Many philosophers have argued or taken for granted that Frege's puzzle has little or nothing to do with identity statements. I show that this is wrong, arguing that the puzzle can only be motivated relative to a thinker's beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the relevant object. The result is important, as it suggests that the puzzle can be solved, not by a semantic theory of names or referring expressions as such, but simply by a theory of identity statements. To show this, I sketch a …Read more
  •  340
    The edenic theory of reference
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (3): 276-308. 2019.
    I argue for a theory of the optimal function of the speech act of referring, called the edenic theory. First, the act of singular reference is defined directly in terms of Gricean communicative intentions. Second, I propose a doxastic constraint on the optimal performance of such acts, stating, roughly, that the speaker must not have any relevant false beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the intended object. In uttering a singular term on an occasion, on this theory, one represents one…Read more
  •  323
    Referential Intentions: A Response to Buchanan and Peet
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3): 610-615. 2018.
    Buchanan (2014) argues for a Gricean solution to well-known counterexamples to direct reference theories of content. Peet (2016) develops a way to change the counterexample so that it seems to speak against Buchanan’s own proposal. I argue that both theorists fail to notice a significant distinction between the kinds of cases at issue. Those appearing to count against direct reference theory must be described such that speakers have false beliefs about the identity of the object to which they in…Read more
  •  229
    Saying Without Knowing What or How
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 17 (3): 351-382. 2017.
    In response to Stephen Neale (2016), I argue that aphonic expressions, such as PRO, are intentionally uttered by normal speakers of natural language, either by acts of omitting to say something explicitly, or by acts of giving phonetic realization to aphonics. I argue, also, that Gricean intention-based semantics should seek divorce from Cartesian assumptions of transparent access to propositional attitudes and, consequently, that Stephen Schiffer's so-called meaning-intention problem is not pow…Read more
  •  559
    Wittgenstein’s influence on Austin’s philosophy of language
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (2): 371-395. 2018.
    Many philosophers have assumed, without argument, that Wittgenstein influenced Austin. More often, however, this is vehemently denied, especially by those who knew Austin personally. We compile and assess the currently available evidence for Wittgenstein’s influence on Austin’s philosophy of language. Surprisingly, this has not been done before in any detail. On the basis of both textual and circumstantial evidence we show that Austin’s work demonstrates substantial engagement with Wittgenstein’…Read more
  •  500
    Compositionality and Sandbag Semantics
    Synthese 191 (14): 3329-3350. 2014.
    It is a common view that radical contextualism about linguistic meaning is incompatible with a compositional explanation of linguistic comprehension. Recently, some philosophers of language have proposed theories of 'pragmatic' compositionality challenging this assumption. This paper takes a close look at a prominent proposal of this kind due to François Recanati. The objective is to give a plausible formulation of the view. The major results are threefold. First, a basic distinction that conte…Read more
  •  855
    A Gricean Theory of Malaprops
    Mind and Language 32 (4): 446-462. 2017.
    Gricean intentionalists hold that what a speaker says and means by a linguistic utterance is determined by the speaker's communicative intention. On this view, one cannot really say anything without meaning it as well. Conventionalists argue, however, that malapropisms provide powerful counterexamples to this claim. I present two arguments against the conventionalist and sketch a new Gricean theory of speech errors, called the misarticulation theory. On this view, malapropisms are understood as …Read more
  •  711
    Confusion is Corruptive Belief in False Identity
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2): 204-227. 2016.
    Speakers are confused about identity if they mistake one thing for two or two things for one. I present two plausible models of confusion, the Frege model and the Millikan model. I show how a prominent objection to Fregean models fails and argue that confusion consists in having false implicit beliefs involving the identity relation. Further, I argue that confused identity has characteristic corruptive effects on singular cognition and on the proper function of singular terms in linguistic commu…Read more
  •  759
    Wittgenstein as a Gricean Intentionalist
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (1): 155-172. 2016.
    According to the dominant view, the later Wittgenstein identified the meaning of an expression with its use in the language and vehemently rejected any kind of mentalism or intentionalism about linguistic meaning. I argue that the dominant view is wrong. The textual evidence, which has either been misunderstood or overlooked, indicates that at least since the Blue Book Wittgenstein thought speakers' intentions determine the contents of linguistic utterances. His remarks on use are only intended …Read more