•  1
    Philosophy of Linguistics
    with Georges Rey, Alex Barber, Michael Devitt, and Dunja Jutronic
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (23). 2008.
  •  178
    Review: Ignorance of Language (review)
    Mind 116 (462): 416-423. 2007.
  •  25
    (i) Languages are indefinitely various along every dimension. (ii) Languages are essentially systems of habit/dispositions. (iii) Languages are learnt from experience via analogy and generalisation. (iv) There is no component of the speaker/hearer’s psychology that is..
  •  251
    Unsharpenable Vagueness
    with Achille C. Varzi
    Philosophical Topics 28 (1): 1-10. 2000.
    A plausible thought about vagueness is that it involves semantic incompleteness. To say that a predicate is vague is to say (at the very least) that its extension is incompletely specified. Where there is incomplete specification of extension there is indeterminacy, an indeterminacy between various ways in which the specification of the predicate might be completed or sharpened. In this paper we show that this idea is bound to founder by presenting an argument to the effect that there are vague …Read more
  •  6
    The Journal of Philosophy: Foreword
    with Christopher Peacocke
    Journal of Philosophy 105 (9): 441-452. 2008.
  •  41
    The redundancy of the act
    Synthese 195 (8): 3519-3545. 2018.
    The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are…Read more
  •  11
    Review of James McGilvray (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (4). 2006.
  •  97
    Proxytypes and linguistic nativism
    Synthese 153 (1): 69-104. 2006.
    Prinz (Perceptual the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis, MIT Press, 2002) presents a new species of concept empiricism, under which concepts are off-line long-term memory networks of representations that are ‘copies’ of perceptual representations – proxytypes. An apparent obstacle to any such empiricism is the prevailing nativism of generative linguistics. The paper critically assesses Prinz’s attempt to overcome this obstacle. The paper argues that, prima facie, proxytypes are as incapa…Read more
  •  44
    "It as little occurs to me to get involved in the philosophical quarrels and arguments of my times as to go down an ally and take part in a scuffle when I see the mob fighting there." — Arthur Schopenhauer, 1828-30, Adversaria' in Manuscript Remains, Vol. 3: Berlin Manuscripts (1818-1830). Oxford: Berg Publishers.
  •  57
    Res Philosophica 92 (2): 283-300. 2015.
  •  41
    (i)  Languages are indefinitely various along every dimension. (ii) Languages are essentially systems of habit/dispositions. (iii) Languages are learnt from experience via analogy and generalisation. (iv) There is no component of the speaker/hearer’s psychology that is       specifically linguistic. (v) Syntactic relations are ones of surface immediate constituency. (vi) Linguistics is a descriptive/taxonomic science - there is nothing to      explain.
  •  53
    Knowledge of Language Redux
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (1): 3-43. 2008.
    The article takes up a range of issues concerning knowledge of language in response to recent work of Rey, Smith, Matthews and Devitt. I am broadly sympathetic with the direction of Rey, Smith, and Matthews. While all three are happy with the locution ‘knowledge of language’, in their different ways they all reject the apparent role for a substantive linguistic epistemology in linguistic explanation. I concur but raise some friendly concerns over even a deflationary notion of knowledge of langua…Read more
  •  20
    Horwich’s Sting
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2): 213-228. 2002.
    Horwich (1998) seeks to undermine the familiar truth-theoretic approach to meaning, as championed by Davidson. Horwich’s criticism has two chief parts: (i) the Davidsonian approach commits a common constitution fallacy under which the form of the explanans (in this case, truth theoretic clauses and theorems) is constrained to respect the form of the explanandum (in this case, ‘meaning facts’) and (ii) that compositionality can be explained independently of a concept of truth, and so the putative…Read more
  •  23
    How Long Can a Sentence Be and Should Anyone Care?
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (3): 199-207. 2010.
    It is commonly assumed that natural languages, construed as sets of sentences, contain denumerably many sentences. One argument for this claim is that the sentences of a language must be recursively enumerable by a grammar, if we are to understand how a speaker-hearer could exhibit unbounded competence in a language. The paper defends this reasoning by articulating and defending a principle that excludes the construction of a sentence non-denumerably many words long
  •  126
    Cuts and Clouds
    Analysis 72 (1): 138-145. 2012.
  •  403
    The big bad bug: What are the humean's chances?
    with John Bigelow and Robert Pargetter
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3): 443-462. 1993.
    Humean supervenience is the doctrine that there are no necessary connections in the world. David Lewis identifies one big bad bug to the programme of providing Humean analyses for apparently non-Humean features of the world. The bug is chance. We put the bug under the microscope, and conclude that chance is no special problem for the Humean.
  •  31
    A Note on Conventions and Unvoiced Syntax
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2): 241-247. 2008.
    This note briefly responds to Devitt’s (2008) riposte to Collins’s (2008a) argument that linguistic realism prima facie fails to accommodate unvoiced elements within syntax. It is argued that such elements remain problematic. For it remains unclear how conventions might target the distribution of PRO and how they might explain hierarchical structure that is presupposed by such distribution and which is not witnessed in concrete strings
  •  27
    Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3): 469-503. 2006.
    My contribution takes up a set of methodological and philosophical issues in linguistics that have recently occupied the work of Devitt and Rey. Devitt construes the theories of generative linguistics as being about an external linguistic reality of utterances, inscriptions, etc.; that is, Devitt rejects the ‘psychologistic’ construal of linguistics. On Rey’s conception, linguistics concerns the mental contents of speaker / hearers; there are no external linguistic items at all. I reject both vi…Read more
  •  49
  •  2
    The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought, and Perception (edited book)
    with Tamara Dobler
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    This volume offers a collective critical engagement with the thought of Charles Travis, a leading contemporary philosopher of language and mind, and a scholar of the history of analytical philosophy. Twelve philosophers explore themes in his work, in sections focused on language, thought, and perception; and Travis responds.
  •  132
    Faculty disputes
    Mind and Language 19 (5): 503-33. 2004.
      Jerry Fodor, among others, has maintained that Chomsky's language faculty hypothesis is an epistemological proposal, i.e. the faculty comprises propositional structures known (cognized) by the speaker/hearer. Fodor contrasts this notion of a faculty with an architectural (directly causally efficacious) notion of a module. The paper offers an independent characterisation of the language faculty as an abstractly specified nonpropositional structure of the mind/brain that mediates between sound a…Read more
  •  46
    Unifying the Philosophy of Truth (edited book)
    with T. Achourioti, H. Galinon, J. Martínez Fernández, and K. Fujimoto
    This anthology of the very latest research on truth features the work of recognized luminaries in the field, put together following a rigorous refereeing process. Along with an introduction outlining the central issues in the field, it provides a unique and unrivaled view of contemporary work on the nature of truth, with papers selected from key conferences in 2011 such as Truth Be Told (Amsterdam), Truth at Work (Paris), Paradoxes of Truth and Denotation (Barcelona) and Axiomatic Theories of Tr…Read more
  •  76
    Vagueness and degrees of truth by Nicholas J. J. Smith (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239): 422-424. 2010.
    No Abstract