•  68
    Pluralism About Practical Reasons and Reason Explanations
    Philosophical Explorations (2): 1-18. 2021.
    This paper maintains that objectivism about practical reasons should be combined with pluralism both about the nature of practical reasons and about action explanations. We argue for an ‘expanding circle of practical reasons’, starting out from an open-minded monist objectivism. On this view, practical reasons are not limited to actual facts, but consist in states of affairs, possible facts that may or may not obtain. Going beyond such ‘that-ish’ reasons, we argue that goals are also bona fide p…Read more
  •  20
    This article compares situated cognition to contemporary Neo-Aristotelian approaches to the mind. The article distinguishes two components in this paradigm: an Aristotelian essentialism which is alien to situated cognition and a Wittgensteinian “capacity approach” to the mind which is not just congenial to it but provides important conceptual and argumentative resources in defending social cognition against orthodox cognitive science. It focuses on a central tenet of that orthodoxy. According to…Read more
  •  18
    Determinacy of Content
    The Harvard Review of Philosophy 27 101-120. 2020.
    Few arguments against intentional states in animals have stood the test of time. But one objection by Stich and Davidson has never been rebutted. In my reconstruction it runs: Ascribing beliefs to animals is vacuous, unless something counts as an animal believing one specific “content” rather than another; Nothing counts as an animal believing one specific content rather than another, because of their lack of language; Ergo: Ascribing beliefs to animals is vacuous. Several attempts to block the …Read more
  •  111
    Was Wittgenstein an Analytic Philosopher?
    Metaphilosophy 35 (4): 419-444. 2004.
    This article first surveys the established views on Wittgenstein's relation to analytic philosophy. Next it distinguishes among different ways of defining analytic philosophy—topical, doctrinal, methodological, stylistic, historical, and the idea that it is a family-resemblance concept. It argues that while certain stylistic features are important, the historical and the family-resemblance conceptions are the most auspicious, especially in combination. The answer to the title question is given i…Read more
  •  2
    Book-Symposium: What is Analytical Philosophy? Replies
    Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 2 (2): 36-42. 2013.
  •  1
    Book-Symposium: What is Analytical Philosophy? Introduction
    Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 2 (2): 1. 2013.
  •  2
    Denken
    In Johann S. Ach & Dagmar Bochers (eds.), Handbuch Tierethik: Grundlagen – Kontexte – Perspektiven, J.b. Metzler. pp. 52-56. 2018.
    Seit Descartes gilt Denken nicht nur als das Vermögen, welches Menschen vor Tieren auszeichnet, sondern auch, als das Merkmal, welches den Bereich des Psychischen bzw. Mentalen von dem des bloß Materiellen unterscheidet. Die Cartesianische Auffassung des Denkens ist allerdings sehr umfassend, da sie außer intellektuellen Fähigkeiten auch Empfindung, Wahrnehmung, Einbildungskraft und Wünsche einschließt. Der etablierte Begriff – sowohl in der Umgangssprache als auch in den Wissenschaften – ist je…Read more
  •  16
    What Is Meaning? A Wittgensteinian Answer to an Un-Wittgensteinian Question
    In James Conant & Sebastian Sunday Grève (eds.), Wittgenstein on Philosophy, Objectivity, and Meaning, Cambridge University Press. pp. 185-210. 2019.
    Wittgenstein has often been ascribed a ‘use-theory of meaning’. However, he explicitly renounced theory construction. Furthermore, his slogan ‘Don’t ask for the meaning, ask for the use!’ invites circumventing the question ‘What is meaning?’ altogether. This chapter argues that, Wittgenstein’s ambivalence notwithstanding, there is no merit in avoiding the title question (‘What is meaning?’). Moreover, it is argued that, while Wittgenstein’s reflections are incompatible with a formal theory of me…Read more
  •  9
    This chapter explores whether a version of causalism about reasons for action can be saved by giving up Davidsonian psychologism and endorsing objectivism, so that the reasons for which we act are the normative reasons that cause our corresponding actions. We address two problems for ‘objecto-causalism’, actions for merely apparent normative reasons and actions performed in response to future normative reasons—in neither of these cases can the reason for which the agent acts cause her action. To…Read more
  •  45
    Agency, Intelligence and Reasons in Animals
    Philosophy 1-27. forthcoming.
    What kind of activity are non-human animals capable of? A venerable tradition insists that lack of language confines them to ‘mere behaviour’. This article engages with this ‘lingualism’ by developing a positive, bottom-up case for the possibility of animal agency. Higher animals cannot just act, they can act intelligently, rationally, intentionally and for reasons. In developing this case I draw on the interplay of behaviour, cognition and conation, the unduly neglected notion of intelligence a…Read more
  •  8
    Philosophy Rehinged?
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (2-3): 274-308. 2016.
  •  6
    Thought, Language, and Animals
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 71 (1): 139-160. 2006.
    This paper discusses Wittgenstein's ideas about the relation between thought, neurophysiology and language, and about the mental capacities of non-linguistic animals. It deals with his initial espousal and later rejection of a 'language of thought', his arguments against the idea that thought requires a medium of images or words, his reasons for resisting the encephalocentric conception of the mind which dominates contemporary philosophy of mind, his mature views about the connection between tho…Read more
  • A Companion to Wittgenstein (edited book)
    with John Hyman
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2017.
  •  22
    Introduction
    with John Hyman
    In Hans-Johann Glock & John Hyman (eds.), A Companion to Wittgenstein, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 1-4. 2017.
  •  57
    The awful English language
    Philosophical Papers. forthcoming.
    The ever-increasing dominance of English within analytic philosophy is an aspect of linguistic globalisation. To assess it, I first address fundamental issues in the philosophy of language. Steering a middle course between linguistic universalism and linguistic relativism, I deny that some languages might be philosophically superior to others, notably by capturing the essential categories of reality. On this background I next consider both the pros and cons of the Anglicisation of philosophy. I …Read more
  •  47
    The Awful English Language
    Philosophical Papers 47 (1): 123-154. 2018.
  •  1
    There are three main positions on animalthought: lingualism denies that non-linguistic animalshave any thoughts; mentalism maintains that theirthoughts differ from ours only in degree, due totheir different perceptual inputs; an intermediateposition, occupied by common sense and Wittgenstein,maintains that animals can have thoughts of a simplekind. This paper argues in favor of an intermediateposition. It considers the most important arguments infavor of lingualism, namely those inspired byDavid…Read more
  • Nelson und die analytische Philosophie
    In , Lit Verlag. pp. 39-70. 2011.
  • A Companion to Wittgenstein (edited book)
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2017.
  •  13
    Can Animals Judge?
    Dialectica 64 (1): 11-33. 2010.
    This article discusses the problems which concepts pose for the attribution of thoughts to animals. It locates these problems within a range of other issues concerning animal minds, and presents a ‘lingualist master argument’ according to which one cannot entertain a thought without possessing its constituent concepts and cannot possess concepts without possessing language. The first premise is compelling if one accepts the building‐block model of concepts as parts of wholes – propositions – and…Read more
  •  57
    This paper is devoted to the role hinge propositions play or should play in epistemology and meta-philosophy. It starts by distinguishing different ways in which propositions can be basic or fundamental and by arguing that the foundational status of hinge propositions cannot be reduced to any of the others. The second part maintains that hinges have anti-sceptical potential, provided that one combines Wittgenstein’s critique of sense with Moore’s method of differential certainty. The final part …Read more
  •  3
  •  24
    The debate about concepts has always been shaped by a contrast between subjectivism, which treats them as phenomena in the mind or head of individuals, and objectivism, which insists that they exist independently of individual minds. The most prominent contemporary version of subjectivism is Fodor's RTM. The Fregean charge against subjectivism is that it cannot do justice to the fact that different individuals can share the same concepts. Proponents of RTM have accepted shareability as a ‘non-ne…Read more
  • Reviews: Reviews (review)
    Philosophy 85 (1): 164-167. 2010.