Indiana University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1976
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
  •  74
    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 All but one of the papers were previously unpublished, and all but two are descendants of presentations at a conference on self-knowledge held at the University of St Andrews in 1995.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.
  •  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.
  •  57
    Book reviews (review)
    with N. C. A. 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): 279-281. 1985.
  •  116
    The grammar of belief
    In William J. Rapaport & F. Orilia (eds.), Thought, Language, and Ontology, Essays in Memory of Hector-Neri Castaneda, Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1998.
  •  297
    Mental anaphora
    Synthese 66 (1). 1986.
  •  212
    Divided reference in causal theories of names
    Philosophical Studies 30 (4). 1976.
    Gareth evans has proposed a type of case which shows that kripke's sketch of a causal theory of proper names is in need of modification. Kripke has himself suggested a way in which the modification might proceed, But I argue that this suggestion leads in the wrong direction. I consider a development of kripke's view by michael devitt which may overcome evans' case, But which is shown false by a different sort of case. The latter kind of case also shows that a view of names recently proposed by d…Read more
  •  348
    Apriorism in the philosophy of language
    Philosophical Studies 52 (1): 1-32. 1987.
  •  634
    The semantics of belief ascriptions
    Noûs 33 (4): 519-557. 1999.
    nated discussion of the semantics of such verbs. I will call this view.
  •  213
    Psychologism in Semantics
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 13 (1). 1983.
    According to grice, Semantic concepts like meaning and reference should be explicated in terms of the propositional attitudes. In this paper, I argue that grice's program is mistaken in principle. I first motivate a gricean strategy for defining denotation, Or semantic reference, In terms of rules that govern what speakers may refer to with the terms they use. I then express three paradigm gricean theories of denotation and introduce considerations which show that these theories are false.
  •  201
    Individuating beliefs
    Philosophical Perspectives 8 303-30. 1994.
  •  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
  •  226
    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