•  1446
    Three Kinds of Relativism
    In Steven Hales (ed.), A Companion to Relativism, Blackwell. 2011.
    The paper looks at three big ideas that have been associated with the term “relativism.” The first maintains that some property has a higher-degree than might have been thought. The second that the judgments in a particular domain of discourse are capable only of relative truth and not of absolute truth And the third, which I dub with the oxymoronic label “absolutist relativism,” seeks to locate relativism in our acceptance of certain sorts of spare absolutist principles. -/- The first idea is w…Read more
  •  980
    Epistemic Rules
    Journal of Philosophy 105 (9): 472-500. 2008.
  •  915
    The core idea seems clear enough. To say of something that it is socially constructed is to emphasize its dependence on contingent aspects of our social selves. It is to say: This thing could not have existed had we not built it; and we need not have built it at all, at least not in its present form. Had we been a different kind of society, had we had different needs, values, or interests, we might well have built a different kind of thing, or built this one differently. The inevitable contrast …Read more
  •  909
    The rule-following considerations
    Mind 98 (392): 507-49. 1989.
    I. Recent years have witnessed a great resurgence of interest in the writings of the later Wittgenstein, especially with those passages roughly, Philosophical Investigations p)I 38 — 242 and Remarks on the Foundations of mathematics, section VI that are concerned with the topic of rules. Much of the credit for all this excitement, unparalleled since the heyday of Wittgenstein scholarship in the early IIJ6os, must go to Saul Kripke's I4rittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. It is easy…Read more
  •  894
    What is inference?
    Philosophical Studies 169 (1): 1-18. 2014.
  •  809
    How Are Objective Epistemic Reasons Possible?
    Philosophical Studies 106 (1): 1-40. 2001.
    Epistemic relativism has the contemporary academy in its grip. Not merely in the United States, but seemingly everywhere, most scholars working in the humanities and the social sciences seem to subscribe to some form of it. Even where the label is repudiated, the view is embraced. Sometimes the relativism in question concerns truth, sometimes justification. The core impulse appears to be a relativism about knowledge. The suspicion is widespread that what counts as knowledge in one cultural, or b…Read more
  •  807
    Analyticity reconsidered
    Noûs 30 (3): 360-391. 1996.
    This is what many philosophers believe today about the analytic/synthetic distinction: In his classic early writings on analyticity -- in particular, in "Truth by Convention," "Two Dogmas of Empiricism," and "Carnap and Logical Truth" -- Quine showed that there can be no distinction between sentences that are true purely by virtue of their meaning and those that are not. In so doing, Quine devastated the philosophical programs that depend upon a notion of analyticity -- specifically, the linguis…Read more
  •  597
    The normativity of content
    Philosophical Issues 13 (1): 31-45. 2003.
  •  491
    in Christian Nimtz and Ansgar Beckermann (eds.): Philosophy - Science - Scientific Philosophy. Main Lectures and Colloquia of GAP.5, Fifth International Congress of the Society for Analytical Philosophy, Bielefeld, 2003, Mentis, 2005
  •  470
    What is Relativism?
    In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Relativism, Clarendon Press. pp. 13--37. 2006.
    Many philosophers, however, have been tempted to be relativists about specific domains of discourse, especially about those domains that have a normative character. Gilbert Harman, for example, has defended a relativistic view of morality, Richard Rorty a relativistic view of epistemic justification, and Crispin Wright a relativistic view of judgments of taste.¹ But what exactly is it to be a relativist about a given domain of discourse? The term ‘‘relativism’’ has, of course, been used in a bewil…Read more
  •  470
    Physicalist theories of color
    Philosophical Review 100 (January): 67-106. 1991.
  •  467
    Seeking The Real
    Philosophical Studies 108 (1): 223-238. 2002.
    A critical discussion of Barry Stroud's claim, in his book "The Quest for Reality", that we could never rationally arrive at the conclusion that, for example, the world is not really colored.
  •  430
    I agree with Sosa that intuitions are best thought of as attractions to believe a certain proposition merely on the basis of understanding it. However, I don't think it is constitutive of them that they supply strictly foundational justification for the propositions they justify, though I do believe that it is important that the intuition of a suitable subject be thought of as a prima facie justification for his intuitive judgment, independently of the reliability of his underlying capacities. I…Read more
  •  416
    Blind reasoning
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1). 2003.
    The paper asks under what conditions deductive reasoning transmits justification from its premises to its conclusion. It argues that both standard externalist and standard internalist accounts of this phenomenon fail. The nature of this failure is taken to indicate the way forward: basic forms of deductive reasoning must justify by being instances of ‘blind but blameless’ reasoning. Finally, the paper explores the suggestion that an inferentialist account of the logical constants can help explain…Read more
  •  386
    The transparency of mental content revisited (review)
    Philosophical Studies 155 (3): 457-465. 2011.
  •  378
    Relativist and constructivist conceptions of truth and knowledge have become orthodoxy in vast stretches of the academic world in recent times. In his long-awaited first book, Paul Boghossian critically examines such views and exposes their fundamental flaws. Boghossian focuses on three different ways of reading the claim that knowledge is socially constructed--one as a thesis about truth and two about justification. And he rejects all three. The intuitive, common-sense view is that there is a w…Read more
  •  373
    Williamson on the A Priori and the Analytic (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2): 488-497. 2011.
  •  329
    Epistemic analyticity: A defense
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 66 (1): 15-35. 2003.
    The paper is a defense of the project of explaining the a priori via the notion of meaning or concept possession. It responds to certain objections that have been made to this project—in particular, that there can be no epistemically analytic sentences that are not also metaphysically analytic, and that the notion of implicit definition cannot explain a priori entitlement. The paper goes on to distinguish between two different ways in which facts about meaning might generate facts about entitlem…Read more
  •  314
    Truth in Virtue of Meaning
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2). 2011.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 89, Issue 2, Page 370-374, June 2011
  •  314
    What the externalist can know A Priori
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 97 (2): 161-75. 1997.
    Controversy continues to attach to the question whether an externalism about mental content is compatible with a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge. By an externalism about mental content, I mean the view that what concepts our thoughts involve may depend not only on facts that are internal to us, but on facts about our environment. It is worth emphasizing, if only because it is still occasionally misperceived, that this thesis is supposed to apply at the level of sense and not me…Read more
  •  269
    The status of content
    Philosophical Review 99 (2): 157-84. 1990.
    A n irrealist conception of a given region of discourse is the view that no real properties answer to the central predicates of the region in question. Any such conception emerges, invariably, as the result of the interaction of two forces. An account of the meaning of the central predicates, along with a conception of the sorts of property the world may contain, conspire to show that, if the predicates of the region are taken to express properties, their extensions would have to be deemed unifo…Read more
  •  268
    What the Sokal hoax ought to teach us
    Times Literary Supplement. 1996.
    In the autumn of 1994, New York University theoretical physicist, Alan Sokal, submitted an essay to Social Text , the leading journal in the field of cultural studies. Entitled Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity ," it purported to be a scholarly article about the "postmodern" philosophical and political implications of twentieth century physical theories. However, as the author himself later revealed in the journal Lingua Franca, his essay was m…Read more
  •  238
    Unlike the relativistic theses drawn from physics, normative relativisms involve relativization not to frames of reference but to something like our standards, standards that we have to be able to think of ourselves as endorsing or accepting. Th us, moral facts are to be relativized to moral standards and epistemic facts to epistemic standards. But a moral standard in this sense would appear to be just a general moral proposition and an epistemic standard just a general epistemic proposition. Pu…Read more
  •  233
    The transparency of mental content
    Philosophical Perspectives 8 33-50. 1994.
  •  217
    What the externalist can know "a priori"
    Philosophical Issues 9 197-211. 1998.
    Controversy continues to attach to the question whether an externalism about mental content is compatible with a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge. By an externalism about mental content, I mean the view that what concepts our thoughts involve may depend not only on facts that are internal to us, but on facts about our environment. It is worth emphasizing, if only because it is still occasionally misperceived, that this thesis is supposed to apply at the level of sense and not me…Read more
  •  211
    Inference and insight (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (3). 2001.
    All of us are disposed to reason according to the rule of inference modus ponens : from.
  •  205
    Inferential role semantics and the analytic/synthetic distinction
    Philosophical Studies 73 (2-3): 109-122. 1994.
    This is a critical discussion of Jerry Fodor and Ernie Lepore's "Holism". The paper questions the existence of a slippery slope from some inferential liaisons are constitutive of meaning' to all inferential liaisons are constitutive of meaning'. "Interalia", it defends the existence of an analytic/synthetic distinction