•  900
    Innateness
    In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    A survey of innateness in cognitive science, focusing on (1) what innateness might be, and (2) whether concepts might be innate.
  •  336
    What’s Really Going On in Searle’s “Chinese room‘
    Philosophical Studies 50 (September): 169-85. 1986.
  •  113
  •  95
    We argue that Recanati burdens his otherwise salutary “Mental File” account of singular thought with an “Actualist” assumption that he has inherited from the discussion of singular thought since at least Evans, according to which singular thoughts can only be about actual objects: apparent singular thoughts involving “empty” terms lack truth-valuable content. This assumption flies in the face of manifestly singular thoughts involving not only fictional and mistakenly postulated entities, such as…Read more
  •  87
    A Naturalistic A Priori
    Philosophical Studies 92 (1/2). 1998.
  •  84
    Wittgenstein’s views invite a modest, functionalist account of mental states and regularities, or more specifically a causal/computational, representational theory of the mind (CRTT). It is only by understandingWittgenstein’s remarks in the context of a theory like CRTT that his insights have any real force; and it is only by recognizing those insights that CRTT can begin to account for sensations and our thoughts about them. For instance, Wittgenstein’s (in)famous remark that “an inner process …Read more
  •  82
    Toward a projectivist account of conscious experience
    In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience, Ferdinand Schoningh. pp. 123--42. 1995.
  •  78
  •  69
  •  68
    Conventions, Intuitions and Linguistic Inexistents: A Reply to Devitt
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3): 549-569. 2006.
    Elsewhere I have argued that standard theories of linguistic competence are committed to taking seriously talk of “representations of” standard linguistic entities (“SLEs”), such as NPs, VPs, morphemes, phonemes, syntactic and phonetic features. However, it is very doubtful there are tokens of these “things” in space and time. Moreover, even if were, their existence would be completely inessential to the needs of either communication or serious linguistic theory. Their existence is an illusion: …Read more
  •  63
    Resisting Primitive CompulsionsA Study of Concepts (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (2): 419. 1996.
    I’m sympathetic to a great deal of Peacocke’s project: that possession of a concept should require it playing a certain role in thought; that semantic determination should be treated separately from concept possession; that certain concepts are defective by virtue of eluding sufficient determination or specification: such claims seems to me right, important, and too little appreciated on my side of the Atlantic.
  •  59
    Mind, Intentionality and Inexistence: an Overview of My Work
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (3): 389-415. 2005.
    The present article articulates the strategy of much of my work to date, which has been concerned to understand how we can possibly come to have any objective understanding of the mind. Generally, I align myself with those who think the best prospect of such an understanding lies in a causal/computational/representational theory of thought (CRTT). However, there is a tendency in recent developments of this and related philosophical views to burden the crucial property of intentionality with what…Read more
  •  58
    Digging deeper for the a priori (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (3). 2001.
    For all the inadequacies of empiricism that BonJour admirably sets out in his first three chapters, one wonders whether rationalism is any better off. I’m afraid I don’t find BonJour’s account reassuring. It seems to be precisely the one that has led so many to be wary of the a priori in the first place. I want here to reiterate the reasons for that wariness, and sketch what seems to me a more promising approach.
  •  57
    XV—Semantic Externalism and Conceptual Competence
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 92 (1): 315-334. 1992.
    Supplements externalist "locking" theories of content with an account of internal "conceptions" by which thoughts lock onto environmental kinds, with that aid of dthat operators, thus solving various philosophical problems
  •  57
    Concepts versus conceptions (again)
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3): 221-222. 2010.
    Machery neglects the crucial role of concepts in psychological explanation, as well as the efforts of numerous of the last 40 years to provide an account of that role. He rightly calls attention to the wide variation in people's epistemic relations to concepts but fails to appreciate how externalist and kindred proposals offer the needed stability in concepts themselves that underlies that variation
  •  56
    Fodor and LePore's attack on conceptual role semantics relies on Quine's attack on the traditional analytic/synthetic and a priori/a posteriori distinctions, which in turn consists of four arguments: an attack on truth by convention; an appeal to revisability; a claim of confirmation holism; and a charge of explanatory vacuity. Once the different merits of these arguments are sorted out, their proper target can be seen to be not the Traditional Distinctions, but an implicit assumption about thei…Read more
  •  51
    In her recent (2009) book, The Origins of Concepts, Susan Carey argues that what she calls ‘Quinean Bootstrapping’ and processes of analogy in children show that the expressive power of a mind can be increased in ways that refute Jerry Fodor's (1975, 2008) ‘Mad Dog’ view that all concepts are innate. I argue that it is doubtful any evidence about the manifestation of concepts in children will bear upon the logico-semantic issues of expressive power. Analogy and bootstrapping may be ways to bring…Read more
  •  51
  •  49
    Language, Music and Mind
    Philosophical Review 106 (4): 641. 1997.
    The central point of Raffman’s discussion is to distinguish the perception, knowledge, and effability of the standard chromatic “categorical” pitch events from what she calls “nuance” pitch events—events whose individuation is more fine-grained than C-events, and which seem to resist reliable, psychologically available categorization. Thus, two pitches a quarter-tone apart may be classified as the same C-event, even though they are different N-events. Experimental evidence suggests that whereas …Read more
  •  49
    The Rashness of Traditional Rationalism and Empiricism
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (Supplement): 227-258. 2004.
  •  48
    A deflated intentionalist alternative to Clark's unexplanatory metaphysics
    Philosophical Psychology 17 (4): 519-540. 2004.
    Throughout his discussion, Clark speaks constantly of phenomenal and qualitative properties. But properties, like any other posited entities, ought to earn their explanatory keep, and this I don't think Clark's phenomenal or qualitative properties actually do. I argue that all the work he enlists for them could be done better by purely intentional contents of our sentient states; that is, they could better be regarded as mere intentional properties, not real ones. Clark eschews such intentionali…Read more
  •  43
    Dennett’s Unrealistic Psychology
    Philosophical Topics 22 (1/2): 259-89. 1994.