Cambridge University
Faculty of Philosophy
PhD, 2012
Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
  •  21
    Speaker's reference, semantic reference and public reference
    Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics PLUS 55 133-143. 2018.
    CITATION: Smit, J. P. 2018. Speaker's reference, semantic reference and public reference. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus, 55:133-143, doi:10.5842/55-0-777.
  •  34
    Russell’s Eccentricity
    Erkenntnis 86 (2): 275-293. 2021.
    Russell claims that ordinary proper names are eccentric, i.e. that the semantic referent of a name is determined by the descriptive condition that the individual utterer of the name associates with the name. This is deeply puzzling, for the evidence that names are subject to interpersonal coordination seems irrefutable. One way of making sense of Russell’s view would be to claim that he has been systematically misinterpreted and did not, in fact, offer a semantic theory at all. Such a view is pu…Read more
  •  19
    Institutions and the Artworld – A Critical Note
    with Buekens Filip
    Journal of Social Ontology 4 (1): 53-66. 2018.
    Contemporary theories of institutions as clusters of stable solutions to recurrent coordination problems can illuminate and explain some unresolved difficulties and problems adhering to institutional definitions of art initiated by George Dickie and Arthur Danto. Their account of what confers upon objects their institutional character does not fit well with current work on institutions and social ontology. The claim that “the artworld” confers the status of “art” onto objects remains utterly mys…Read more
  •  1
    CITATION: Smit, J. P. 2013. A note on mental content in the Causal Theory. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 42:77-80, doi:10.5774/42-0-138.
  •  134
    The Incentivized Action View of Institutional Facts as an Alternative to the Searlean View: A Response to Butchard and D’Amico
    with Filip Buekens and Stan du Plessis
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46 (1): 44-55. 2016.
    In our earlier work, we argued, contra Searle, that institutional facts can be understood in terms of non-institutional facts about actions and incentives. Butchard and D’Amico claim that we have misinterpreted Searle, that our main argument against him has no merit and that our positive view cannot account for institutional facts created via joint action. We deny all three charges.
  •  8
    CITATION: Smit, J. P. 2011. Some lessons from Kripke’s A Puzzle About Belief. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 40:39-56, doi: 10.5774/40-0-38.
  •  10
    Two Social Dimensions of Expertise
    with Ben Kotzee
    Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (3): 640-654. 2017.
  •  5
    Thesis --University of Stellenbosch, 2003 In this thesis an attempt is made to sketch the outlines of a cognitive theory of ethics, i.e. a theory in which ethical statements are a subset of descriptive statements. It is argued that the good is a quale, and that this quale roughly corresponds to what is often referred to as "pleasure". If this conceptualisation of the good is correct, then the resulting ethical theory is a cognitive, egoist version of ethical hedonism. The thesis proceeds by rel…Read more
  •  226
    What Is Money? An Alternative To Searle's Institutional Facts
    with Filip Buekens and Stan du Plessis
    Economics and Philosophy 27 (1): 1-22. 2011.
    In The Construction of Social Reality, John Searle develops a theory of institutional facts and objects, of which money, borders and property are presented as prime examples. These objects are the result of us collectively intending certain natural objects to have a certain status, i.e. to ‘count as’ being certain social objects. This view renders such objects irreducible to natural objects. In this paper we propose a radically different approach that is more compatible with standard economic th…Read more
  •  74
    Cigarettes, dollars and bitcoins – an essay on the ontology of money
    with Filip8 Buekens and Stan Du Plessis
    Journal of Institutional Economics 12 (2). 2016.
    What does being money consist in? We argue that something is money if, and only if, it is typically acquired in order to realise the reduction in transaction costs that accrues in virtue of agents coordinating on acquiring the same thing when deciding what thing to acquire in order to exchange. What kinds of things can be money? We argue against the common view that a variety of things (notes, coins, gold, cigarettes, etc.) can be money. All monetary systems are best interpreted as implementing …Read more
  •  71
    Developing the incentivized action view of institutional reality
    with Filip8 Buekens and Stan Du Plessis
    Synthese 191 (8). 2014.
    Contemporary discussion concerning institutions focus on, and mostly accept, the Searlean view that institutional objects, i.e. money, borders and the like, exist in virtue of the fact that we collectively represent them as existing. A dissenting note has been sounded by Smit et al. (Econ Philos 27:1–22, 2011), who proposed the incentivized action view of institutional objects. On the incentivized action view, understanding a specific institution is a matter of understanding the specific actions…Read more
  •  441
    Traditional descriptivism and Kripkean causalism are standardly interpreted as rival theories on a single topic. I argue that there is no such shared topic, i.e. that there is no question that they can be interpreted as giving rival answers to. The only way to make sense of the commitment to epistemic transparency that characterizes traditional descriptivism is to interpret Russell and Frege as proposing rival accounts of how to characterize a subject’s beliefs about what names refer to. My argu…Read more
  •  42
    How to Do Things Without Words - A Theory of Declarations
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 47 (3): 235-254. 2017.
    Declarations like “this meeting is adjourned” make certain facts the case by representing them as being the case. Yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to the mechanism whereby the utterance of a declaration can bring about a new state of affairs. In this paper, we use the incentivization account of institutional facts to address this issue. We argue that declarations can serve to bring about new states of affairs as their utterance have game theoretical import, typically in virtue of …Read more
  •  180
    Anaphora and Semantic Innocence
    with A. Steglich-Petersen
    Journal of Semantics 27 (1): 119-124. 2010.
    Semantic theories that violate semantic innocence, i.e. require reference-shifts when terms are embedded in ‘that’ clauses and the like, are often challenged by producing sentences where an anaphoric expression, while not itself embedded in a context in which reference shifts, is anaphoric on an antecedent expression that is embedded in such a context. This, in conjunction with a widely accepted principle concerning unproblematic anaphora, is used to show that such reference shifting has absurd …Read more
  •  82
    Why Bare Demonstratives Need Not Semantically Refer
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (1): 43-66. 2012.
    I-theories of bare demonstratives take the semantic referent of a demonstrative to be determined by an inner state of the utterer. E-theories take the referent to be determined by factors external to the utterer. I argue that, on the Standard view of communication, neither of these theories can be right. Firstly, both are committed to the existence of conventions with superfluous content. Secondly, any claim to the effect that a speaker employs the conventions associated with these theories cann…Read more
  •  18
    CITATION: Smith, J. P. 2014. A note on name individuation and identifying descriptions. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 43:165-170, doi:10.5774/43-0-165.