Washington and Jefferson College
  • Washington and Jefferson College
    Regular Faculty
Georgetown University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1999
  •  147
    Kripke, Putnam and the introduction of natural kind terms
    Acta Analytica 17 (1): 151-170. 2002.
    In this paper, I will outline some of the important points made by Kripke and Putnam on the meaning of natural kind terms. Their notion of the baptism of natural kinds- the process by which kind terms are initially introduced into the language — is of special concern here. I argue that their accounts leave some ambiguities that suggest a baptism of objects and kinds that is free of additional theoretical commitments. Both authors suggest that we name the stuff and then let the scientists tell …Read more
  •  74
    Rigid Designation and Anaphoric Theories of Reference
    Philosophical Studies 130 (2): 351-375. 2006.
    Few philosophers today doubt the importance of some notion of rigid designation, as suggested by Kripke and Putnam for names and natural kind terms. At the very least, most of us want our theories to be compatible with the most plausible elements of that account. Anaphoric theories of reference have gained some attention lately, but little attention has been given to how they square with rigid designation. Although the differences between anaphoric theories and many interpretations of the New Th…Read more
  •  65
    Reference and Incommensurability: What Rigid Designation Won’t Get You (review)
    Acta Analytica 22 (3): 207-222. 2007.
    Causal theories of reference in the philosophy of language and philosophy of science have suggested that it could resolve lingering worries about incommensurability between theoretical claims in different paradigms, to borrow Kuhn’s terms. If we co-refer throughout different paradigms, then the problems of incommensurability are greatly diminished, according to causal theorists. I argue that assuring ourselves of that sort of constancy of reference will require comparable sorts of cross-paradigm…Read more
  •  41
    The curious role of natural kind terms
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83 (1). 2002.
  •  35
    Rigid Designation and Natural Kind Terms, Pittsburgh Style
    Normative Functionalism and the Pittsburgh School. 2012.
    This paper addresses recent literature on rigid designation and natural kind terms that draws on the inferentialist approaches of Sellars and Brandom, among others. Much of the orthodox literature on rigidity may be seen as appealing, more or less explicitly, to a semantic form of “the given” in Sellars’s terms. However, the important insights of that literature may be reconstructed and articulated in terms more congenial to the Pittsburgh school of normative functionalism.
  •  32
    A collection of Essays dealing with themes in the philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars
  •  24
    This article addresses recent claims made by Richard Rorty about antirepresentationalist theories of meaning. Rorty asserts that a faithful rendering of the core antirepresentationalist assumptions precludes even revised pieces of representationalist semantics like "refers" or "true" and epistemological correlates like "answering to the facts." Rorty even asserts that such notions invite reactionary authoritarian elements that would impede the development of a democratic humanism. I reject this …Read more
  •  19
    Boundaries, Reasons, and Relativism
    Journal of Philosophical Research 37 205-220. 2012.
    During the latter half of the twentieth century, many philosophers in Europe and America turned towards social pragmatist and holistic accounts of concepts and theories. In this paper, I make the case that many forms of relativism—moral and otherwise—that emerge from this turn are misguided. While we must always operate from some framework of practices in which things may serve as reasons for us, most forms of relativism in recent decades have more boldly granted us immunity from external ration…Read more
  •  17
    “I’m Here Now”: The Pragmatic Significance of Perspective
    Southwest Philosophy Review 24 (2): 109-116. 2008.
  •  13
    Sellars on the Revision of Theoretical Commitments
    Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 92 (1): 233-255. 2007.
    This paper addresses some of Sellars's views on conceptual change and revision, spread across several books and articles. It begins with Sellars's distinction between rules of criticism and rules of action. I argue that Sellars's distinction here actually sheds light on the epistemology of theoretical revision. Many revisions of theoretical commitments can be motivated by the force of rules of action that govern the maintenance of our theories. I offer a partial account of this, positing two rul…Read more
  •  12
    Contextualist Responses to Greene’s Puzzle
    Southwest Philosophy Review 21 (2): 179-182. 2005.
  •  10
    Making Sense of the Role of Assertions
    Philosophical Investigations 42 (4): 396-418. 2019.
    Philosophical Investigations, EarlyView.
  •  7
    The Ordinary Language Case for Contextualism and the Relevance of Radical Doubt
    with Jeremy Randel Koons
    Contemporary Pragmatism 15 (1): 66-94. 2018.
  •  6
    Belief, Desire, and Giving and Asking for Reasons
    Philosophia 46 (2): 275-280. 2018.
    We adjudicate a recent dispute concerning the desire theory of well-being. Stock counterexamples to the desire theory include “quirky” desires that seem irrelevant to well-being, such as the desire to count blades of grass. Bruckner claims that such desires are relevant to well-being, provided that the desirer can characterize the object in such a way that makes it clear to others what attracts the desirer to it. Lin claims that merely being attracted to the object of one’s desire should be suff…Read more
  •  2
    Boundaries, Reasons, and Relativism
    Journal of Philosophical Research 37 205-220. 2012.
    During the latter half of the twentieth century, many philosophers in Europe and America turned towards social pragmatist and holistic accounts of concepts and theories. In this paper, I make the case that many forms of relativism—moral and otherwise—that emerge from this turn are misguided. While we must always operate from some framework of practices in which things may serve as reasons for us, most forms of relativism in recent decades have more boldly granted us immunity from external ration…Read more
  • An Inferentialist Semantics for Natural Kind Terms
    Dissertation, Georgetown University. 1999.
    My dissertation is concerned with natural kind terms; its most basic goal is to provide a semantic account of the role these play in scientific discourse. Since my broad semantic approach follows Sellars and Brandom in looking to the pragmatically articulated inferential role of sentences rather than their relation to the world, I manage to set aside metaphysical questions regarding the nature of kinds. I begin with an account of the central role played by natural kind terms in theoretical expla…Read more
  • Introduction
    Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 92 11-19. 2007.