Indiana University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1976
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
  •  73
    Beyond Formalism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3): 709-713. 1997.
  •  226
    Thought by description
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1): 83-102. 2009.
    No Abstract
  •  14
    This book defends the Direct Reference (DR) thesis in philosophy of language regarding proper names and indexical pronouns. It uniquely draws out the significant consequences of DR when it is conjoined with the fact that these singular terms sometimes fail to refer. Even though DR is widely endorsed by philosophers of language, many philosophically important and radically controversial consequences of the thesis have gone largely unexplored. This book makes an important contribution to the DR l…Read more
  •  20
    Skepticism and Content Externalism
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2018.
    Hilary Putnam (1981) proposed an interesting and much discussed attempt to refute a skeptical argument that is based on one form of the brain-in-a-vat scenario. In turn, Putnam’s attempted refutation is based on content externalism (also known as semantic externalism). On this view, the referents and meanings of various types of singular and general terms, as well as the propositions expressed by sentences containing such terms, are determined by aspects of the speaker’s external environment. In…Read more
  •  390
    On Knowing Our Own Minds
    Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206): 107-116. 2002.
    This is an anthology of ?fteen papers concerning various philosophical problems related to the topic of self-knowledge. All but one of the papers were previously unpublished, and all but two are descendants of presentations at a conference on self-knowledge held at the University of St Andrews in 1995. The collection.
  •  213
    Curing folk psychology of arthritis
    Philosophical Studies 70 (3): 323-36. 1993.
    Tyler Burge's (1979) famous thought experiment concerning 'arthritis' is commonly assumed to show that all ascriptions of content to beliefs and other attitudes are dependent for their truth upon facts about the agent's social and linguistic environment. It is also commonly claimed that Burge's argument shows that Putnam's (1975) result regarding natural kind terms applies to all general terms whatever, and hence shows that all such terms have wide meanings.1 But I wish to show here, first, that…Read more
  •  9
    Book reviews (review)
    with N. C. A. da Costa, David Harrah, Michael Tye, D. S. Clarke, Jeffrey Olen, Robert Young, Richard Campbell, John Peterson, Alex C. Michalos, John Glucker, John T. Blackmore, Eileen Bagus, and Barbara Goodwin
    Philosophia 15 (1-2): 139-218. 1985.
  •  178
    The internal basis of meaning
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 72 (June): 143-69. 1991.
  •  129
    Michael Devitt, Designation Reviewed by Michael McKinsey (review)
    Philosophy in Review 3 (3): 112-116. 1983.
  •  1051
    Understanding proper names
    Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (4): 325-354. 2010.
    There is a fairly general consensus that names are Millian (or Russellian) genuine terms, that is, are singular terms whose sole semantic function is to introduce a referent into the propositions expressed by sentences containing the term. This answers the question as to what sort of proposition is expressed by use of sentences containing names. But there is a second serious semantic problem about proper names, that of how the referents of proper names are determined. This is the question that I…Read more
  •  225
    The ambiguity of definite descriptions
    Theoria 45 (2): 78-89. 1979.
  •  645
    Kripke's Objections to Description Theories of Names
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8 (3). 1978.
    In “Naming and Necessity” Saul Kripke describes some cases which, he claims, provide counterexamples both to cluster theories and, more generally, to description theories of proper names. My view of these cases is that while they do not provide counterexamples to cluster theories, they can be used to provide evidence against single-description theories. In this paper I shall defend both of the claims involved in my view.
  •  136
    Critical Notice of Scott Soames, Beyond Rigidity
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (1): 149-168. 2005.
    In this admirable book, Scott Soames provides well defended answers to some of the most difficult and important questions in the philosophy of language, and he does so with characteristic thoroughness, clarity, and rigor. The book's title is appropriate, since it does indeed go ‘beyond rigidity’ in many ways. Among other things, Soames does the following in the course of the book. He persuasively argues that the main thesis of Kripke's Naming and Necessity—that ordinary names are rigid designato…Read more
  •  339
    In my 1991 paper, AAnti-Individualism and Privileged Access,@ I argued that externalism in the philosophy of mind is incompatible with the thesis that we have privileged , nonempirical access to the contents of our own thoughts.<sup>1</sup> One of the most interesting responses to my argument has been that of Martin Davies (1998, 2000, and Chapter _ above) and Crispin Wright (2000 and Chapter _ above), who describe several types of cases to show that warrant for a premise does not always transmi…Read more
  •  382
    Names and intentionality
    Philosophical Review 87 (2): 171-200. 1978.
  •  41
    Expressing mental states
    Philosophia 8 (4): 657-671. 1979.
  •  230
    Causality and the Paradox of Names
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1): 491-515. 1984.
  •  458
    Truths Containing Empty Names
    In Piotr Stalmaszczyk & Luis Fernandez Moreno (eds.), Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names, Peter Lang. pp. 175-202. 2016.
    Abstract. On the Direct Reference thesis, proper names are what I call ‘genuine terms’, terms whose sole semantic contributions to the propositions expressed by their use are the terms’ semantic referents. But unless qualified, this thesis implies the false consequence that sentences containing names that fail to refer can never express true or false propositions. (Consider ‘The ancient Greeks worshipped Zeus’, for instance.) I suggest that while names are typically and fundamentally used as ge…Read more
  •  56
    Thought by Description
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1): 83-102. 2009.
  •  136
    Levels of obligation
    Philosophical Studies 35 (4). 1979.
  •  124
    The semantic basis of externalism
    In J. Campbell, M. O. Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth, Seven Bridges Press. 2001.
    1. The primary evidence and motivation for externalism in the philosophy of mind is provided by the semantic facts that support direct reference theories of names, indexi- cal pronouns, and natural kind terms. But many externalists have forgotten their sem- antic roots, or so I shall contend here. I have become convinced of this by a common reaction among externalists to the main argument of my 1991 paper AAnti-Individual- ism and Privileged [email protected] In that argument, I concluded that externalis…Read more
  •  191
    Forms of externalism and privileged access
    Philosophical Perspectives 16 199-224. 2002.
    In my 1991 paper
  •  12
    Causes and intentions: A reply
    Philosophical Review 90 (3): 408-423. 1981.