Irvine, California, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
  •  1
    A Generalized Approach for Verifying the Emission Benefits of Off-Road Hybrid Mobile Sources
    with Varalakshmi Jayaram, M. Yusuf Khan, William A. Welch, J. Wayne Miller, and David R. Cocker
  •  67
    On the Nature of Reverse Compositionality
    Erkenntnis 64 (1): 37-60. 2006.
    Reverse Compositionality (RC) is the thesis that one understands a complex expression only if one understands its parts. I argue that this thesis is false for natural languages. I then argue that the phenomenon that motivates the thesis is more likely to be a fact about human sentence-processing than linguistic understanding per se. Finally, I argue that RC is not useful in the debates about prototype-style theories of concepts in which it figures heavily.
  •  65
    Quantitative realizations of philosophy of science: William Whewell and statistical methods
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (3): 399-409. 2011.
    In this paper, I examine William Whewell’s (1794–1866) ‘Discoverer’s Induction’, and argue that it 21 supplies a strikingly accurate characterization of the logic behind many statistical methods, exploratory 22 data analysis (EDA) in particular. Such methods are additionally well-suited as a point of evaluation of 23 Whewell’s philosophy since the central techniques of EDA were not invented until after Whewell’s death, 24 and so couldn’t have influenced his views. The fact that the quantitative d…Read more
  •  205
    An Overview of Lexical Semantics
    Philosophy Compass 3 (1): 119-134. 2008.
    This article reviews some linguistic and philosophical work in lexical semantics. In Section 1, the general methods of lexical semantics are explored, with particular attention to how semantic features of verbs are associated with grammatical patterns. In Section 2, philosophical consequences and issues arising from this sort of research is reviewed
  •  142
    The empirical nature of our understanding of language is explored. I first show that there are several important and different distinctions between tacit and accessible awareness. I then present empirical evidence concerning our understanding of language. The data suggests that our awareness of sentence-meanings is sometimes merely tacit according to one of these distinctions, but is accessible according to another. I present and defend an interpretation of this mixed view. The present project i…Read more
  •  55
    A Lot of Data
    Philosophy of Science 78 (5): 788-799. 2011.
    This paper motivates using explicit methods in linguistics by attempting to estimate the size of a linguistic data set. Such estimations are difficult because redundant data can easily pad the data set. To address this, I offer some explicit operationalizations of the data and their features. But for linguistic data, negative associations don’t indicate true redundancy, and yet for many measures they can be mathematically impossible to ignore. It is proven that this troublesome phenomenon has posit…Read more
  •  48
    Famously, scientific theories are underdetermined by their evidence. This occurs in the factor analytic model, which is often used to connect concrete data to hypothetical notions. After introducing FA, three general topics are addressed. Underdetermination: the precise reasons why FA is underdetermined illuminates various claims about underdetermination, abduction, and theoretical terms. Uncertainties: FA helps distinguish at least four kinds of uncertainties. The prevailing practice, often enc…Read more
  •  141
    We examine the pros and cons of color realism, exposing some desiderata on a theory of color: the theory should render colors as scientifically legitimate and correctly individuated, and it should explain how we have veridical color experiences. We then show that these desiderata can by met by treating colors as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major as properties of the special sciences. According to our view, some of the major disputes in the literature ab…Read more
  •  69
    Maps, languages, and manguages: Rival cognitive architectures?
    Philosophical Psychology 28 (6): 815-836. 2015.
    Provided we agree about the thing, it is needless to dispute about the terms. —David Hume, A treatise of human nature, Book 1, section VIIMap-like representations are frequently invoked as an alternative type of representational vehicle to a language of thought. This view presupposes that map-systems and languages form legitimate natural kinds of cognitive representational systems. I argue that they do not, because the collections of features that might be taken as characteristic of maps or lang…Read more
  •  55
    The legacy of methodological dualism
    Mind and Language 22 (4). 2007.
    Methodological dualism in linguistics occurs when its theories are subjected to standards that are inappropriate for them qua scientific theories. Despite much opposition, methodological dualism abounds in contemporary thinking. In this paper, I treat linguistics as a scientific activity and explore some instances of dualism. By extracting some ubiquitous aspects of scientific methodology from its typically quantitative expression, I show that two recent instances of methodologically dualistic c…Read more
  •  108
    Externalist Thoughts and the Scope of Linguistics
    ProtoSociology 22 23-39. 2006.
    A common assumption in metaphysics and the philosophy of language is that the general structure of language displays the general metaphysical structure of the things we talk about. But expressions can easily be imperfect representations of what they are about. After clarifying this general point, I make a case study of a recent attempt to semantically analyze the nature of knowledge-how. This attempt fails because there appears to be no plausible bridge from the linguistic structure of knowledge…Read more
  •  39
    Notational Variants and Invariance in Linguistics
    Mind and Language 30 (2): 162-186. 2015.
    This article argues that the much-maligned ‘notational variants’ of a given formal linguistic theory play a role similar to alternative numerical measurement scales. Thus, they can be used to identify the invariant components of the grammar; i.e., those features that do not depend on the choice of empirically equivalent representation. Treating these elements as the ‘meaningful’ structure of language has numerous consequences for the philosophy of science and linguistics. I offer several such ex…Read more
  •  137
    The structure of words is often thought to provide important evidence regarding the structure of concepts. At the same time, most contemporary linguists posit a great deal of structure in words. Such a trend makes some atomists about concepts uncomfortable. The details of linguistic methodology undermine several strategies for avoiding positing structure in words. I conclude by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to hold that word-structure bears any interesting relation to the structure…Read more
  •  113
    Gold’s Theorem and Cognitive Science
    Philosophy of Science 71 (4): 571-592. 2004.
    A variety of inaccurate claims about Gold's Theorem have appeared in the cognitive science literature. I begin by characterizing the logic of this theorem and its proof. I then examine several claims about Gold's Theorem, and I show why they are false. Finally, I assess the significance of Gold's Theorem for cognitive science.