•  1
    Reply to Richard and Reimer
    Mind and Language 13 (4): 617-621. 1998.
  •  147
    There’s an interesting debate in moral and political philosophy about the nature of, and relationship between, ideal and non-ideal theory. In this paper we discuss whether an analogous distinction can be drawn in philosophy of language. Our conclusion is negative: Even if you think that distinction can be put to work within moral and political philosophy, there’s no useful way to extend it to work that has been done in the philosophy of language.
  •  2
    The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 17 13-19. 1998.
    This paper examines two attempts to justify the way in which intuitions about specific cases are used as evidence for and against philosophical theories. According to the concept model, intuitions about cases are trustworthy applications of one’s typically tacit grasp of certain concepts. We argue that regardless of whether externalist or internalist accounts of conceptual content are correct, the concept model flounders. The second justification rests on the less familiar belief model, which ha…Read more
  •  527
    Conceptual Engineering: The Master Argument
    In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    I call the activity of assessing and developing improvements of our representational devices ‘conceptual engineering’.¹ The aim of this chapter is to present an argument for why conceptual engineering is important for all parts of philosophy (and, more generally, all inquiry). Section I of the chapter provides some background and defines key terms. Section II presents the argument. Section III responds to seven objections. The replies also serve to develop the argument and clarify what conce…Read more
  •  161
    Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2019.
    Conceptual engineering and conceptual ethics are branches of philosophy concerned with questions about how to assess and ameliorate our representational devices (such as concepts and words). It's a part of philosophy concerned with questions about which concepts we should use (and why), how concepts can be improved, when concepts should be abandoned, and how proposals for amelioration can be implemented. Central parts of the history of philosophy have engaged with these issues, but the focus of …Read more
  •  262
    Conceptual Engineering, Topics, Metasemantics, and Lack of Control
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5): 594-605. 2020.
    Conceptual engineering is now a central topic in contemporary philosophy. Just 4-5 years ago it wasn’t. People were then engaged in the engineering of various philosophical concepts (in various sub-disciplines), but typically not self-consciously so. Qua philosophical method, conceptual engineering was under-explored, often ignored, and poorly understood. In my lifetime, I have never seen interest in a philosophical topic grow with such explosive intensity. The sociology behind this is fascinat…Read more
  •  53
    Fixing Language. An Essay on Conceptual Engineering
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 73 (1): 169-173. 2019.
  •  7
    Bad Language
    with Josh Dever
    Oxford University Press. 2019.
    Bad Language is the first textbook on an emerging area in the study of language: non-idealized language use, the linguistic behaviour of people who exploit language for malign purposes. This lively, accessible introduction offers theoretical frameworks for thinking about such topics as lies and bullshit, slurs and insults, coercion and silencing.
  •  1117
    A Guided Tour Of Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics
    In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 1-26. 2020.
  • Sufficiency and Exess
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 80 265-320. 2006.
    This paper assembles examples and considerations bearing on such questions as the following. Are statements to the effect that someone is too young or that someone is old enough always to be understood in terms of someone's being too young or too old for such-and-such-for example, for them to join a particular organization? And when a 'such-and-such' has been specified, is it always at least tacitly modal in force-in the case just given, too young or old enough to be able to join the organizatio…Read more
  •  145
    Using, Mentioning and Quoting: A Reply to Saka
    Mind 108 (432): 741-750. 1999.
    Paul Saka, in a recent paper, declares that we can use, mention, or quote an expression. Whether a speaker is using or mentioning an expression, on a given occasion, depends on his intentions. An exhibited expression is used, if the exhibiter intends to direct his audience’s attention to the expression’s extension. It is mentioned, if he intends to draw his audience’s attention to something associated with the exhibited token other than its extension. This includes, but is not limited to, an ort…Read more
  •  130
    The Myth of Unarticulated Constituents
    In Michael O'Rourke & Corey Washington (eds.), Situating Semantics: Essays on the Philosophy of John Perry, Mit Press. pp. 199-214. 2007.
    This paper evaluates arguments presented by John Perry (and Ken Taylor) in favor of the presence of an unarticulated constituent in the proposition expressed by utterance of, for example, (1):1 1. It's raining (at t). We contend that these arguments are, at best, inconclusive. That's the critical part of our paper. On the positive side, we argue that (1) has as its semantic content the proposition that it is raining (at t) and that this is a location-neutral proposition. According to the view we…Read more
  •  26
    Davidson: sobre decir-lo-mismo
    Ideas Y Valores 53 (125): 7-21. 2004.
    Three basic elements for a neodavidsonian semantics are presented in thisarticle. Firstly, a rejection of the thesis according to which the semanticcontent is identical with the speech act content. Secondly, the adoption ofsemantic minimalism as the proper domain where a truth-conditionalsemantics ..
  •  93
    Shared Content
    In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language, Oxford University Press. pp. 1020--1055. 2006.
    A general and fundamental tension surrounds our concept of what is said. On the one hand, what is said (asserted, claimed, stated, etc.) by utterances of a significant range of sentences is highly context sensitive. More specifically, (Observation 1 (O1)), what these sentences can be used to say depends on their contexts of utterance. On the other hand, speakers face no difficulty whatsoever in using many of these sentences to say (or make) the exact same claim, assertion, etc., across a wide ar…Read more
  •  258
    Varieties of Quotation
    Mind 106 (423): 429-450. 1997.
    There are at least four varieties of quotation, including pure, direct, indirect and mixed. A theory of quotation, we argue, should give a unified account of these varieties of quotation. Mixed quotes such as 'Alice said that life is 'difficult to understand'', in which an utterance is directly and indirectly quoted concurrently, is an often overlooked variety of quotation. We show that the leading theories of pure, direct, and indirect quotation are unable to account for mixed quotation and the…Read more
  •  47
    Propositional Skeletons and Disquotational Reports
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt2): 207-227. 2007.
    One of the three central issues in Lloyd Humberstone's ‘Sufficiency and Excess’ is what he calls ‘the Complete Thought Issue’ (CTI, for short). This is the question of whether some declarative sentences have proposition radicals, rather than full-blown propositions, as their semantic values. My focus in this reply is exclusively on Humberstone's comments about CTI and on CTI more generally. The goal of Humberstone's discussion of CTI is to defend ‘[Kent] Bach's claim against Cappelen and Lepore'…Read more
  •  24
    Semantic Theory and Indirect Speech
    ProtoSociology 10 4-18. 1997.
    Much work in the philosophy of language assumes that a semantic theory T, for a language L should assign p as the semantic content of an utterance u, by A, of a sentence S in L, if and only if “A said that p” is true. This assumption is mistaken. More generally, the aim of semantics cannot be to capture the extension of English expressions such as “meaning” or “what was said”. This provides support for Davidson’s paratactic theory of indirect speech and for the view that a semantic theory should…Read more
  •  34
    One of Szabo's central objections is his ‘reservations about the alleged slide from moderate to radical contextualism’. First, some background: the argument Szabo expresses doubt about is essential both to the critical part of our book and to its positive part. Our argument against what we call moderate contextualism depends on the assumption that it collapses into radical contextualism. Our positive view depends on the assumption that for any utterance, we can trigger the intuition that many di…Read more
  •  132
    The Creative Interpreter: Content Relativism and Assertion
    Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1). 2008.
    Philosophers of language and linguists tend to think of the interpreter as an essentially non-creative participant in the communicative process. There’s no room, in traditional theories, for the view that correctness of interpretation depends in some essential way on the interpreter. As a result, there’s no room for the possibility that while P is the correct interpretation of an utterance, u, for one interpreter, P* is the correct interpretation of that utterance for another interpreter. Recent…Read more
  •  67
    Semantics and Pragmatics: Some Central Issues
    In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics, Oxford University Press. pp. 3--24. 2007.
    Introduction to Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics, 2007, Oxford University Press, (eds. Preyer and Peter).
  •  82
    Varieties of Quotation Revisited
    Belgian Journal of Linguistics (17): 51-75. 2003.
    This paper develops the view presented in our 1997 paper "Varieties of Quotation". In the first part of the paper we show how phenomena such as scare-quotes, echoing and mimicry can be treated as what we call Speech Act Heuristics. We then defend a semantic account of mixed quotation. Along the way we discuss the role of indexicals in mixed quotation and the noncancelability of reference to words in mixed quotation. We also respond to some objections raised by Recanati, Saka, Stainton and Reimer
  •  88
    Replies to Weatherson, Chalmers, Weinberg, and Bengson
    Philosophical Studies 171 (3): 577-600. 2014.
    Reply to criticsThe replies in this symposium are some of the most insightful contributions to contemporary metaphilosophy I have read. I wish I had seen them before I wrote Philosophy without Intuitions . It would have made it a better book. I also wish I had space to explore all the important issues raised, but unfortunately, the focus here will have to be on points of disagreement. The replies build on each other—I draw on material from the earlier replies in the later ones. It is possible to…Read more
  •  38
    In Insensitive Semantics (INS) and several earlier articles (see C&L 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004) we appeal to a range of procedures for testing whether an expression is semantically context sensitive. We argue that claims to the effect that an expression, e, is semantically context sensitivity should be made only after checking whether e passes these tests. We use these tests to criticize those we classify as Radical and Moderate Contextualist (Taylor is one of our targets in the latter category.).Read more
  •  302
    Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard (review)
    Philosophical Studies 156 (3): 417-419. 2011.
    Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard.
  •  72
    Reply to Boghossian, Brogaard and Richard
    Analytic Philosophy 55 (4): 407-421. 2014.
    I reply to commentaries on my book Philosophy Without Intuitions from Paul Boghossian, Berit Brogaard, and Mark Richard.
  •  51
    Relativism and Monadic Truth
    Analysis 71 (1): 109-111. 2011.
    The beginning of the twenty-first century saw something of a comeback for relativism within analytical philosophy. Relativism and Monadic Truth has three main goals. First, we wished to clarify what we take to be the key moving parts in the intellectual machinations of self-described relativists. Secondly, we aimed to expose fundamental flaws in those argumentative strategies that drive the pro-relativist movement and precursors from which they draw inspiration. Thirdly, we hoped that our polemi…Read more
  •  90
    Reply to Richard and Reimer
    Mind and Language 13 (4): 588-621. 1998.
    We reply to Marga Reimer and Mark Richard's comments on our article 'On An Alleged Connection Between Indirect Speech and the Theory of Meaning'.
  •  25
    Reply to critics
    Mind and Language 21 (1): 50-73. 2006.
    We start off with some points of clarification about the view we defend in Insensitive Semantics, before going on to consider responses from Charles Travis, Zoltan Szabo,Anne Bezuidenhout, Steven Gross, and Francois Recanati
  •  17
    Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard
    Philosophical Studies 156 (3): 449-466. 2011.