•  852
    Truth-Relativism, Norm-Relativism, and Assertion
    In Jessica Brown & Herman Cappelen (eds.), Assertion: New Philosophical Essays, Oxford University Press. 2011.
    The main goal in this paper is to outline and defend a form of Relativism, under which truth is absolute but assertibility is not. I dub such a view Norm-Relativism in contrast to the more familiar forms of Truth-Relativism. The key feature of this view is that just what norm of assertion, belief, and action is in play in some context is itself relative to a perspective. In slogan form: there is no fixed, single norm for assertion, belief, and action. Upshot: 'knows' is neither context-sensitive…Read more
  •  568
    Discrimination and Self-Knowledge
    In Declan Smithies & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), Introspection and Consciousness, Oxford University Press. 2012.
    In this paper I show that a variety of Cartesian Conceptions of the mental are unworkable. In particular, I offer a much weaker conception of limited discrimination than the one advanced by Williamson (2000) and show that this weaker conception, together with some plausible background assumptions, is not only able to undermine the claim that our core mental states are luminous (roughly: if one is in such a state then one is in a position to know that one is) but also the claim that introspection…Read more
  •  537
    Neutralism and Conceptual Engineering
    In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Conceptual Engineering alleges that philosophical problems are best treated via revising or replacing our concepts (or words). The goal here is not to defend Conceptual Engineering but rather show that it can (and should) invoke Neutralism—the broad view that philosophical progress can take place when (and sometimes only when) a thoroughly neutral, non-specific theory, treatment, or methodology is adopted. A neutralist treatment of one form of skepticism is used as a case study and is compared w…Read more
  •  476
    Conceptual Marxism and Truth: Inquiry Symposium on Kevin Scharp’s Replacing Truth
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (4): 403-421. 2019.
    In Replacing Truth, Scharp takes the concept of truth to be fundamentally incoherent. As such, Scharp reckons it to be unsuited for systematic philosophical theorising and in need of replacement – at least for regions of thought and talk which permit liar sentences and their ilk to be formulated. This replacement methodology is radical because it not only recommends that the concept of truth be replaced, but that the word ‘true’ be replaced too. Only Tarski has attempted anything like it before.…Read more
  •  364
    Epistemic Contextualism is the view that “knows that” is semantically context-sensitive and that properly accommodating this fact into our philosophical theory promises to solve various puzzles concerning knowledge. Yet Epistemic Contextualism faces a big—some would say fatal—problem: The Semantic Error Problem. In its prominent form, this runs thus: speakers just don’t seem to recognise that “knows that” is context-sensitive; so, if “knows that” really is context-sensitive then such speakers ar…Read more
  •  252
    Neutralism and the Observational Sorites Paradox
    In Ali Abasnezhad & Otavio Bueno (eds.), Synthese Special Edition, Springer. forthcoming.
    Neutralism is the broad view that philosophical progress can take place when (and sometimes only when) a thoroughly neutral, non-specific theory, treatment, or methodology is adopted. The broad goal here is to articulate a distinct, specific kind of sorites paradox (The Observational Sorites Paradox) and show that it can be effectively treated via Neutralism.
  •  193
    Knowledge for Nothing
    In Peter Graham & Nikolaj Pedersen (eds.), New Essays on Entitlement, Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Let Entitlement Epistemology be the theory of knowledge which says that entitlement—a special kind of unearned warrant to accept or believe—can help us successfully address a range of sceptical arguments. Prominent versions of this theory urge that epistemology should not be concerned with knowledge (and similar externalist states) but rather with justification, warrant, and entitlement (at least insofar as these are conceived of as internalist states). Knowledge does not come first, half-way, …Read more
  •  189
    Indeterminate truth
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1): 213-241. 2008.
    In §2-4, I survey three extant ways of making sense of indeterminate truth and find each of them wanting. All the later sections of the paper are concerned with showing that the most promising way of making sense of indeterminate truth is via either a theory of truthmaker gaps or via a theory of truthmaking gaps. The first intimations of a truthmaker–truthmaking gap theory of indeterminacy are to be found in Quine (1981). In §5, we see how Quine proposes to solve Unger’s problem of the many via…Read more
  •  165
    Free assumptions and the liar paradox
    American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (2). 2001.
    A new solution to the liar paradox is developed using the insight that it is illegitimate to even suppose (let alone assert) that a liar sentence has a truth-status (true or not) on the grounds that supposing this sentence to be true/not-true essentially defeats the telos of supposition in a readily identifiable way. On that basis, the paradox is blocked by restricting the Rule of Assumptions in Gentzen-style presentations of the sequent-calculus. The lesson of the liar is that not all assumptio…Read more
  •  164
    Vagueness and non-indexical contextualism
    with Jonas Åkerman
    In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Language, Palgrave-macmillan. 2009.
    Contextualism concerning vagueness (hereafter ‘CV’) is a popular response to the puzzle of vagueness.[1] The goal in this paper is to uncover in what ways vagueness may be a particular species of context-sensitivity. The most promising form of CV turns out to be a version of socalled ‘Non-Indexical Contextualism’.[2] In §2, we sketch a generic form of CV (hereafter ‘GCV’). In §3, we distinguish between Truth CV and Content CV. A non-indexical form of CV is a form of Truth CV, while an indexical …Read more
  •  163
    Truthmaker Gaps and the No-No Paradox
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3). 2011.
    Consider the following sentences: The neighbouring sentence is not true. The neighbouring sentence is not true. Call these the no-no sentences. Symmetry considerations dictate that the no-no sentences must both possess the same truth-value. Suppose they are both true. Given Tarski’s truth-schema—if a sentence S says that p then S is true iff p—and given what they say, they are both not true. Contradiction! Conclude: they are not both true. Suppose they are both false. Given Tarski’s falsity-sche…Read more
  •  162
    Hold the context fixed, vagueness still remains
    with Jonas Åkerman
    In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds, Oxford University Press. pp. 275--88. 2010.
    Contextualism about vagueness (hereafter ‘Contextualism’) is the view that vagueness consists in a particular species of context-sensitivity and that properly accommodating this fact into our semantic theory will yield a plausible solution to the sorites paradox.[1],[2] But Contextualism, as many commentators have noted, faces the following immediate objection: if we hold the context fixed, vagueness still remains, therefore vagueness is not a species of context-sensitivity. Call this ‘the simpl…Read more
  •  151
    Williamson on Knowledge (edited book)
    with Duncan Pritchard
    Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009.
    Eighteen leading philosophers offer critical assessments of Timothy Williamson's ground-breaking work on knowledge and its impact on philosophy today. They discuss epistemological issues concerning evidence, defeasibility, scepticism, testimony, assertion, and perception, and debate Williamson's central claim that knowledge is a mental state.
  •  139
    Contextualism about vagueness and higher-order vagueness
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1). 2005.
    To get to grips with what Shapiro does and can say about higher-order vagueness, it is first necessary to thoroughly review and evaluate his conception of (first-order) vagueness, a conception which is both rich and suggestive but, as it turns out, not so easy to stabilise. In Sections I–IV, his basic position on vagueness (see Shapiro [2003]) is outlined and assessed. As we go along, I offer some suggestions for improvement. In Sections V–VI, I review two key paradoxes of higher-order vagueness, …Read more
  •  138
    Vagueness: A minimal theory
    Mind 112 (446): 235-281. 2003.
    Vagueness is given a philosophically neutral definition in terms of an epistemic notion of tolerance. Such a notion is intended to capture the thesis that vague terms draw no known boundary across their range of signification and contrasts sharply with the semantic notion of tolerance given by Wright (1975, 1976). This allows us to distinguish vagueness from superficially similar but distinct phenomena such as semantic incompleteness. Two proofs are given which show that vagueness qua epistemic …Read more
  •  133
    Truth and Realism (edited book)
    with Patrick Greenough and Michael Patrick Lynch
    Oxford University Press. 2006.
    Is truth objective or relative? What exists independently of our minds? The essays in this book debate these two questions, which are among the oldest of philosophical issues and have vexed almost every major philosopher, from Plato, to Kant, to Wittgenstein. Fifteen eminent contributors bring fresh perspectives, renewed energy, and original answers to debates of great interest both within philosophy and in the culture at large.
  •  118
    On what it is to be in a quandary
    Synthese 171 (3). 2009.
    A number of serious problems are raised against Crispin Wright’s quandary conception of vagueness. Two alternative conceptions of the quandary view are proposed instead. The first conception retains Wright’s thesis that, for all one knows, a verdict concerning a borderline case constitutes knowledge. However a further problem is seen to beset this conception. The second conception, in response to this further problem, does not enjoin the thesis that, for all one knows, a verdict concerning a bor…Read more
  •  99
    Deflationism and Truth-Value Gaps
    In Nikolaj Pedersen & Cory D. Wright (eds.), New Waves inTruth, Palgrave-macmillan. 2010.
    Central to any form of Deflationism concerning truth (hereafter ‘DT’) is the claim that truth has no substantial theoretical role to play. For this reason, DT faces the following immediate challenge: if truth can play no substantial theoretical role then how can we model various prevalent kinds of indeterminacy—such as the indeterminacy exhibited by vague predicates, future contingents, liar sentences, truth-teller sentences, incomplete stipulations, cases of presupposition failure, and such-lik…Read more
  •  25
    Minimalism concerning truth is the view that that all there is to be said concerning truth is exhausted by a set of basic platitudes. In the first part of this thesis, I apply this methodology to the concept of knowledge. In so doing, I develop a model of inexact knowledge grounded in what I call minimal margin for error principles. From these basic principles, I derive the controversial result that epistemological internalism and internalism with respect to self-knowledge are untenable doctrine…Read more