•  1864
    Knowing How
    Journal of Philosophy 98 (8): 411-444. 2001.
    Many philosophers believe that there is a fundamental distinction between knowing that something is the case and knowing how to do something. According to Gilbert Ryle, to whom the insight is credited, knowledge-how is an ability, which is in turn a complex of dispositions. Knowledge-that, on the other hand, is not an ability, or anything similar. Rather, knowledge-that is a relation between a thinker and a true proposition.
  •  1277
    Knowledge and certainty
    Philosophical Issues 18 (1): 35-57. 2008.
    This paper is a companion piece to my earlier paper “Fallibilism and Concessive Knowledge Attributions”. There are two intuitive charges against fallibilism. One is that it countenances the truth (and presumably acceptability) of utterances of sentences such as “I know that Bush is a Republican, though it might be that he is not a Republican”. The second is that it countenances the truth (and presumably acceptability) of utterances of sentences such as “I know that Bush is a Republican, even tho…Read more
  •  824
    Hermeneutic fictionalism
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1). 2001.
    Fictionalist approaches to ontology have been an accepted part of philosophical methodology for some time now. On a fictionalist view, engaging in discourse that involves apparent reference to a realm of problematic entities is best viewed as engaging in a pretense. Although in reality, the problematic entities do not exist, according to the pretense we engage in when using the discourse, they do exist. In the vocabulary of Burgess and Rosen (1997, p. 6), a nominalist construal of a given discou…Read more
  •  521
    Modality And What Is Said
    Noûs 36 (s16): 321-344. 2002.
    If, relative to a context, what a sentence says is necessarily true, then what it says must be so. If, relative to a context, what a sentence says is possible, then what it says could be true. Following natural philosophical usage, it would thus seem clear that in assessing an occurrence of a sentence for possibility or necessity, one is assessing what is said by that occurrence. In this paper, I argue that natural philosophical usage misleads here. In assessing an occurrence of a sentence for p…Read more
  •  515
    Singular thoughts and singular propositions
    Philosophical Studies 154 (2). 2011.
    A singular thought about an object o is one that is directly about o in a characteristic way—grasp of that thought requires having some special epistemic relation to the object o, and the thought is ontologically dependent on o. One account of the nature of singular thought exploits a Russellian Structured Account of Propositions, according to which contents are represented by means of structured n-tuples of objects, properties, and functions. A proposition is singular, according to this framewo…Read more
  •  451
    On 'Average'
    with Christopher Kennedy
    Mind 118 (471). 2009.
    This article investigates the semantics of sentences that express numerical averages, focusing initially on cases such as 'The average American has 2.3 children'. Such sentences have been used both by linguists and philosophers to argue for a disjuncture between semantics and ontology. For example, Noam Chomsky and Norbert Hornstein have used them to provide evidence against the hypothesis that natural language semantics includes a reference relation holding between words and objects in the worl…Read more
  •  450
    “Assertion” and intentionality
    Philosophical Studies 151 (1): 87-113. 2010.
    Robert Stalnaker argues that his causal-pragmatic account of the problem of intentionality commits him to a coarse-grained conception of the contents of mental states, where propositions are represented as sets of possible worlds. Stalnaker also accepts the "direct reference" theory of names, according to which co-referring names have the same content. Stalnaker's view of content is thus threatened by Frege's Puzzle. Stalnaker's classic paper "Assertion" is intended to provide a response to this…Read more
  •  413
    Context and logical form
    Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (4): 391--434. 2000.
    In this paper, I defend the thesis that alleffects of extra-linguistic context on thetruth-conditions of an assertion are traceable toelements in the actual syntactic structure of thesentence uttered. In the first section, I develop thethesis in detail, and discuss its implications for therelation between semantics and pragmatics. The nexttwo sections are devoted to apparent counterexamples.In the second section, I argue that there are noconvincing examples of true non-sentential assertions.In t…Read more
  •  407
    On the linguistic basis for contextualism
    Philosophical Studies 119 (1-2): 119-146. 2004.
    Contextualism in epistemology is the doctrine that the proposition expressed by a knowledge attribution relative to a context is determined in part by the standards of justification salient in that context. The (non-skeptical) contextualist allows that in some context c, a speaker may truly attribute knowledge at a time of a proposition p to Hannah, despite her possession of only weak inductive evidence for the truth of that proposition. Relative to another context, someone may make the very sam…Read more
  •  354
    Hornsby on the phenomenology of speech
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1). 2005.
    The central claim is that the semantic knowledge exercised by people when they speak is practical knowledge. The relevant idea of practical knowledge is explicated, applied to the case of speaking, and connected with an idea of agents’ knowledge. Some defence of the claim is provided.
  •  312
    Know How
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    Chapter 1: Ryle on Knowing How Chapter 2: Knowledge-wh Chapter 3: PRO and the Representation of First-Person Thought Chapter 4: Ways of Thinking Chapter 5: Knowledge How Chapter 6: Ascribing Knowledge How Chapter 7: The Cognitive Science of Practical Knowledge Chapter 8: Knowledge Justified Preface A fact, as I shall use the term, is a true proposition. A proposition is the sort of thing that is capable of being believed or asserted. A proposition is also something that is characteristically the…Read more
  •  296
    Fallibilism and concessive knowledge attributions
    Analysis 65 (2): 126-131. 2005.
    Lewis concludes that fallibilism is uncomfortable, though preferable to scepticism. However, he believes that contextualism about knowledge allows us to ‘dodge the choice’ between fallibilism and scepticism. For the contextualist semantics for ‘know’ can explain the oddity of fallibilism, without landing us into scepticism.
  •  280
    Knowing
    Noûs 45 (2): 207-238. 2011.
  •  279
    Persons and their properties
    Philosophical Quarterly 48 (191): 159-175. 1998.
    According to what I call ‘the asymmetry thesis’, persons, though they are the direct bearers of the properties expressed by mental predicates, are not the direct bearers of properties such as those expressed by ‘weighs 135 pounds’ or ‘has crossed legs’. A number of different views about persons entail the asymmetry thesis. I first argue that the asymmetry thesis entails an error theory about our discourse involving person‐referring terms. I then argue that it is further threatened by considerati…Read more
  •  279
    Knowledge and Practical Interests
    Oxford University Press. 2005.
    Jason Stanley presents a startling and provocative claim about knowledge: that whether or not someone knows a proposition at a given time is in part determined by his or her practical interests, i.e. by how much is at stake for that person at that time. In defending this thesis, Stanley introduces readers to a number of strategies for resolving philosophical paradox, making the book essential not just for specialists in epistemology but for all philosophers interested in philosophical methodolog…Read more
  •  250
    According to Interest-Relative Invariantism, whether an agent knows that p, or possesses other sorts of epistemic properties or relations, is in part determined by the practical costs of being wrong about p. Recent studies in experimental philosophy have tested the claims of IRI. After critically discussing prior studies, we present the results of our own experiments that provide strong support for IRI. We discuss our results in light of complementary findings by other theorists, and address the…Read more
  •  230
    I argue that it follows from a very plausible principle concerning understanding that the truth of an ascription of understanding is context-relative. I use this to defend an account of lexical meaning according to which full understanding of a natural kind term or name requires knowing informative, uniquely identifying information about its referent. This point undermines Putnam-style 'elm-beech' arguments against the description theory of names and natural kind terms.
  •  216
    According to what I will call a contextualist solution to the sorites paradox, vague terms are context-sensitive, and one can give a convincing dissolution of the sorites paradox in terms of this context-dependency. The reason, according to the contextualist, that precise boundaries for expressions like “heap” or “tall for a basketball player” are so difficult to detect is that when two entities are sufficiently similar (or saliently similar), we tend to shift the interpretation of the vague exp…Read more
  •  186
  •  175
  •  151
    Review of Robyn Carston, Thoughts and Utterances (review)
    Mind and Language 20 (3). 2005.
    Relevance Theory is the influential theory of linguistic interpretation first championed by Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson. Relevance theorists have made important contributions to our understanding of a wide range of constructions, especially constructions that tend to receive less attention in semantics and philosophy of language. But advocates of Relevance Theory also have had a tendency to form a rather closed community, with an unwillingness to translate their own special vocabulary and dis…Read more
  •  137
    On a Case for Truth‐Relativism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1): 179-188. 2016.
  •  110
    Knowledge, Habit, Practice, Skill
    Journal of Philosophical Research 40 (Supplement): 315-323. 2015.
  •  106
    Truth and Metatheory in Frege
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 77 (1). 1996.
    In this paper it is contended, against a challenging recent interpretation of Frege, that Frege should be credited with the first semirigorous formulation of semantic theory. It is argued that the considerations advanced against this contention suffer from two kinds of error. The first involves the attribution to Frege of a skeptical attitude towards the truth-predicate. The second involves the sort of justification which these arguments assume a classical semantic theory attempts to provide. Fi…Read more
  •  98
    In the Twentieth Century, Logic and Philosophy of Language are two of the few areas of philosophy in which philosophers made indisputable progress. For example, even now many of the foremost living ethicists present their theories as somewhat more explicit versions of the ideas of Kant, Mill, or Aristotle. In contrast, it would be patently absurd for a contemporary philosopher of language or logician to think of herself as working in the shadow of any figure who died before the Twentieth Century…Read more
  •  93
    Reply to Bach and Neale
    with Jason Stanley and Zoltan Gendler Szabo
    Mind and Language 15 (2-3): 295-298. 2000.
  •  93
    Reply to Hintikka and Sandu: Frege and Second-Order Logic
    Journal of Philosophy 90 (8): 416-424. 1993.
    Hintikka and Sandu had argued that 'Frege's failure to grasp the idea of the standard interpretation of higher-order logic turns his entire foundational project into a hopeless daydream' and that he is 'inextricably committed to a non-standard interpretation' of higher-order logic. We disagree.
  •  83
    Precis of How Propaganda Works
    Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (3): 287-294. 2016.
    Precis by the autor of the book How Propaganda Works.Sinopsis del autor del libro How Propaganda Works.