•  232
    Pascal's Wager and the Many Gods Objection
    Religious Studies 37 (3): 321-341. 2001.
    Pascal's Wager is finding ever more defenders who aim to undermine the old Many Gods Objection. It is my thesis that they are mistaken. After describing the Wager and the objection, I report on Jeff Jordan's repeated attempt to limit legitimate religious hypotheses to those that are traditional. In separate sections I criticize Jordan, first coming from epistemology and second from anthropology. Then I describe George Schlesinger's repeated appeal to the ‘simplest’ religious hypothesis, and argu…Read more
  •  105
    Quotation
    Philosophy Compass 8 (10): 935-949. 2013.
    Understanding quotation is fundamental to understanding the nature of truth and meaning. Quotation, however, is a remarkably complicated phenomenon, and a vigorous literature on the topic has been growing at an increasing rate.§1 To give you a sense of this work, §1 enlarges upon the significance of studying quotation; §2 presents a rudimentary taxonomy of quotation; and §3 critically surveys theories of how quotation works
  •  89
    Section 1 discerns ambiguity in the word “truth”, observing that the term is used most naturally in reference to truth-bearers rather than truth-makers. Focusing on truths-as-truth-bearers, then, it would appear that alethic realism conflicts with metaphysical realism as naturalistically construed. Section 2 discerns ambiguity in the purporting of truth (as in assertion), conjecturing that all expressions, not just those found in traditionally recognized opaque contexts, can be read intensionall…Read more
  •  89
    Quotation and the use-mention distinction
    Mind 107 (425): 113-135. 1998.
    Quote marks, I claim, serve to select from the multiple ostensions that are produced whenever any expression is uttered; they act to constrain pragmatic ambiguity or indeterminacy. My argument proceeds by showing that the proffered account fares better than its rivals-the Name, Description, Demonstrative, and Identity Theories. Along the way I shall need to explain and emphasize that quoting is not simply the same thing as mentioning. Quoting, but not mentioning, relies on the use of conventiona…Read more
  •  83
    Quotation and Conceptions of Language
    Dialectica 65 (2): 205-220. 2011.
    This paper discusses empty quotation (‘’ is an empty string) and lexical quotation (his praise was, quote, fulsome, unquote), it challenges the minimal theory of quotation (‘ “x” ’ quotes ‘x’) and it defends the identity theory of quotation. In the process it illuminates disciplinary differences between the science of language and the philosophy of language. First, most philosophers assume, without argument, that language includes writing, whereas linguists have reason to identify language with …Read more
  •  83
    Spurning charity
    Axiomathes 17 (2): 197-208. 2007.
    The principle of charity (“Charity”), in one form or other, is held by many and for various reasons. After cataloging discernible kinds of Charity, I focus on the most familiar versions as found in Davidson, Dennett, Devitt, Lewis, Putnam, Quine, Stich, and others. To begin with, I argue that such versions of Charity are untenable because beliefs cannot be counted, and even if they could be counted there is reason to believe that true beliefs need not outnumber false beliefs. Next I rebut one of…Read more
  •  81
    Ought Does Not Imply Can
    American Philosophical Quarterly 37 (2). 2000.
    Moral philosophers widely believe that it is a part of the MEANING of 'ought' statements that they imply 'can' statements. To this thesis I offer three challenges, and then I conclude on a broader methodological note. (1) Epistemological Modal Argument: for all we know, determinism is true; determinism contradicts “ought implies can”; therefore we don’t know that 'ought' implies 'can'. (2) Metaphysical Modal Argument: determinism is conceptually possible; determinism contradicts “ought implies c…Read more
  •  72
    Quotation: A reply to Cappelen and Lepore
    Mind 108 (432): 751-754. 1999.
  •  56
    John Bishop: Believing by faith: An essay in the epistemology and ethics of religious belief (review)
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 64 (2): 107-109. 2008.
  •  44
    Ignorance of language - by Michael Devitt
    Philosophical Books 49 (2): 161-163. 2008.
  •  43
    The Demonstrative and Identity Theories of Quotation
    Journal of Philosophy 103 (9): 452-471. 2006.
    The Demonstrative Theory holds that quoted matter is logically external to the quoting sentence, that quotation marks are (demonstratively) referential, and that quotation marks are grammatically required for autonomous mentioning. In contrast, the Identity Theory holds that quoted matter is integral to its quoting sentence, that quotation marks serve merely as disambiguating punctuation, and that mentionings need not be quotation-marked. I support the Identity Theory by pointing out fallacies i…Read more
  •  35
    The Argument from Ignorance against Truth-Conditional Semantics
    American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (2). 2007.
    According to orthodox semantics, to know the meaning of a sentence is to know its truth-conditions. Against this view I observe that we typically do not know the truth-conditions of the sentences we understand. We do not know the truth-conditions, for instance, of empty definite descriptions, non-declaratives, subjunctive conditionals, causal ascriptions, belief ascriptions, probability statements, figurative language, category mistakes, normative judgments, or vague statements. Appealing to tac…Read more
  •  33
    Pascal's Wager
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2002.
  •  31
    Reasons as Defaults By John F. Horty
    Analysis 74 (2): 358-360. 2014.
  •  30
    Review: Renewing Meaning (review)
    Mind 116 (461): 145-148. 2007.
  •  20
    Further Advances in Pragmatics and Philosophy: Part 2 Theories and Applications
    with Grazia Basile, Antonino Bucca, Brian E. Butler, Alessandro Capone, Louise Cummings, Igor Douven, Alessandra Falzone, Melvin González-Rivera, Mitchell Green, Jeffrey S. Helmreich, Istvan Kecskes, Francesco La Mantia, Paolo Leonardi, Congyi Liu, Fabrizio Macagno, Mostafa Morady Moghaddam, Antonino Pennisi, Paola Pennisi, Francesca Piazza, Francesca Poggi, Maria Pia Pozzato, Sara Schatz, Stephen Schiffer, Caterina Scianna, Alberto Voltolini, Douglas Walton, Richard Warner, Howard Wettstein, Jonathan R. White, Jock Wong, and Dorota Zielińska
    Springer Verlag. 2019.
    Introduction: The two sections of this volume present theoretical developments and practical applicative papers respectively. Theoretical papers cover topics such as intercultural pragmatics, evolutionism, argumentation theory, pragmatics and law, the semantics/pragmatics debate, slurs, and more. The applied papers focus on topics such as pragmatic disorders, mapping places of origin, stance-taking, societal pragmatics, and cultural linguistics. This is the second volume of invited papers tha…Read more
  •  4
    Ignorance of Language ‐ by Michael Devitt
    Philosophical Books 49 (2): 161-163. 2008.
  •  3
    No Title available: Book reviews (review)
    Religious Studies 43 (4): 492-496. 2007.
  •  1
    The Act of Quotation
    In Elke Brendel (ed.), Understanding Quotation, De Gruyter Mouton. 2011.
    I focus on one approach to understanding quotation, the identity theory; I delineate varieties thereof; and I cite some considerations for favoring a speech-act version. Along the way we shall see how the study of quotation can illuminate the general conflict between speech-act semantics and formal semantics, and we shall see fresh arguments for insisting that the mechanism of quotation is referentially indeterminate.
  • Mind and Paradox
    Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 25 (3): 377-87. 2013.
    Paradoxes are mind-dependent in a number of ways. First, by definition, paradoxes offer surprises or apparent contradictions. Since surprise and appearance rely on subjective psychological reactions, paradoxes rely on psychological events. Second, propositional versions of the liar paradox must eventually appeal to sentences if they are to achieve traction, yet sentential versions of the liar paradox rely on language and hence on mentality. Third, belief paradoxes such as B, "No one believes B",…Read more
  • Lexical Decomposition in Cognitive Semantics
    Dissertation, The University of Arizona. 1991.
    This dissertation formulates, defends, and exemplifies a semantic approach that I call Cognitive Decompositionism. Cognitive Decompositionism is one version of lexical decompositionism, which holds that the meaning of lexical items are decomposable into component parts. Decompositionism comes in different varieties that can be characterized in terms of four binary parameters. First, Natural Decompositionism contrasts with Artful Decompositionism. The former views components as word-like, the lat…Read more
  • Quotational Constructions
    Belgian Journal of Linguistics 17 187-212. 2003.
  • Meaning and the Ascription of Attitudes
    Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 1998.
    The present work develops a new theory of meaning---which I call attitudinal semantics---and applies it to solving three concrete problems. ;Chapter 1 notes that theories are to be understood and judged in comparison to their rivals. It accordingly sets out the dominant theory of meaning, truth-conditional semantics, which claims that to give the meaning of sentence is to give the conditions under which is true, as in . Chapter 2 articulates my alter native proposal, which claims that to give th…Read more
  • Quotational Constructions
    In Philippe de Brabanter (ed.), Hybrid Quotations, John Benjamins. 2005.
    The utterance of any expression x ostends or makes manifest the customary referent of x, x itself, and related matter. If x appears in quotation marks then the presumed intention behind the utterance is to pick out something other than the customary referent (either instead of it or in addition to it). The consequences of these ideas, taken from my 1998 work, are here drawn out in application to a variety of quotations: metalinguistic citation, reported speech, scare-quoting, echo-quoting, loan …Read more
  • The Semantics and Pragmatics of Quotation (edited book)
    with Michael Johnson
    Springer. forthcoming.