•  45
    Slur creation, bigotry formation: the power of expressivism
    Phenomenology and Mind 11 130-139. 2016.
    Theories of slurs aim to explain how – via semantics, pragmatics, or other mechanisms – speakers who use slurs convey that targets are inferior persons. I present two novel problems. The Slur Creation Problem: How do terms come to be slurs? An expression ‘e’ is introduced into the language. What are the mechanisms by which ‘e’ comes to possess properties distinctive of slurs? The Bigotry Formation Problem: Speakers’ uses of slurs are a prime mechanism of bigotry formation, not solely bigotry per…Read more
  •  28
    The Pure and the Practical
    The Philosophers' Magazine 94 72-77. 2021.
  •  212
    Pride and Prejudiced
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (1): 106-137. 2020.
    The reclamation of slurs raises a host of important questions. Some are linguistic: What are the linguistic conventions governing the slur post-reclamation and how are they related to the conventions governing it pre-reclamation? What mechanisms engender the shift? Others bend toward the social: Why do a slur’s targets have a special privilege in initiating its reclamation? Is there a systematic explanation why prohibitions on out-group use of reclaimed slurs vary from slur to slur? And how does…Read more
  •  76
    Katherine and the Katherine: On the syntactic distribution of names and count nouns
    Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 33 (3): 473-508. 2018.
    Names are referring expressions and interact with the determiner system only exceptionally, in stark contrast with count nouns. The-predicativists like Sloat, Matushansky, and Fara claim otherwise, maintaining that syntactic data offers indicates that names belong to a special syntactic category which differs from common count nouns only in how they interact with ‘the’. I argue that the-predicativists have incorrectly discerned the syntactic facts. They have bypassed a large range of important s…Read more
  •  81
    Loaded Words and Expressive Words
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 17 (2): 111-130. 2017.
    In this paper, I assess the relative merits of two semantic frameworks for slurring terms. Each aims to distinguish slurs from their neutral counterparts via their semantics. On one, recently developed by Kent Bach, that which differentiates the slurring term from its neutral counterpart is encoded as a ‘loaded’ descriptive content. Whereas the neutral counterpart ‘NC’ references a group, the slur has as its content “NC, and therefore contemptible”. On the other, a version of hybrid expressivism…Read more
  •  1
    By Reason Alone: Inquiries Into Knowledge and Intellection
    Dissertation, The University of Chicago. 1995.
    What makes us epistemically justified in believing the truths of logic and mathematics. What is the source, or nature, of that justification? Is it in some way ultimately grounded in sensory experiences? Or can it be grounded on reason and understanding alone? ;My aim in this dissertation is to develop a conception of non-perceptual intellection-based justification for belief and to argue that much knowledge of mathematics and logic has an intellection-based epistemic ground. The second objectiv…Read more
  •  114
    The Epistemological Argument Against Descriptivism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2): 325-345. 2002.
    The epistemological argument against descriptivism about proper names is extremely simple. Fora proper name ‘N’ and definite description ‘F’, the proposition expressed by “If N exists, then N is F is not normally known a priori. But descriptivism about proper names entails otherwise. So descriptivism is false. The argument is widely regarded as sound. This paper aims to establish that the epistemological argument is highly unstable. The problem with the argument is that there seems to be no conv…Read more
  •  254
    Referentialism and Predicativism About Proper Names
    Erkenntnis 80 (S2): 363-404. 2015.
    Overview The debate over the semantics of proper names has, of late, heated up, focusing on the relative merits of referentialism and predicativism. Referentialists maintain that the semantic function of proper names is to designate individuals. They hold that a proper name, as it occurs in a sentence in a context of use, refers to a specific individual that is its referent and has just that individual as its semantic content, its contribution to the proposition expressed by the sentence. Furthe…Read more
  •  157
    Frege's notions of self-evidence
    Mind 110 (440): 937-976. 2001.
    Controversy remains over exactly why Frege aimed to estabish logicism. In this essay, I argue that the most influential interpretations of Frege's motivations fall short because they misunderstand or neglect Frege's claims that axioms must be self-evident. I offer an interpretation of his appeals to self-evidence and attempt to show that they reveal a previously overlooked motivation for establishing logicism, one which has roots in the Euclidean rationalist tradition. More specifically, my view…Read more
  •  276
    The significance of names
    Mind and Language 24 (4): 370-403. 2009.
    As a class of terms and mental representations, proper names and mental names possess an important function that outstrips their semantic and psycho-semantic functions as common, rigid devices of direct reference and singular mental representations of their referents, respectively. They also function as abstract linguistic markers that signal and underscore their referents' individuality. I promote this thesis to explain why we give proper names to certain particulars, but not others; to account…Read more
  •  271
    New Essays on Singular Thought (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2010.
    Leading experts in the field contributing to this volume make the case for the singularity of thought and debate a broad spectrum of issues it raises, including ...
  •  378
    Donnellan on neptune
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1): 111-135. 2001.
    Donnellan famously argued that while one can fix the reference of a name with a definite description, one cannot thereby have a de re belief about the named object. All that is generated is meta-linguistic knowledge that the sentence “If there is a unique F, then N is F” is true. Donnellan’s argument and the sceptical position are extremely influential. This article aims to show that Donnellan’s argument is unsound, and that the Millian who embraces Donnellan’s scepticism that the reference-fixe…Read more
  •  29
    The Fallibility of Rational Insight
    Journal of Philosophical Research 27 301-310. 2002.
    In In Defense of Pure Reason [IDPR], BonJour advances a version of moderate rationalism, the thesis that rational insight is an independent, though fallible, source of a priori epistemic justification. To demonstrate that this thesis must obtain, BonJour argues that rational insight is truth conducive and that no infallibilist rationalist theory could be correct. This article aims to establish two points: (1) BonJour’s argument for the fallibilist thesis is problematic because it invokes implaus…Read more
  •  25
    Review of Alan Berger, Terms and Truth (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (7). 2003.
  •  75
    Implicit Belief? A Priori Knowledge?
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (S1): 211-216. 2000.
  •  84
    Ways of taking a meter
    Philosophical Studies 99 (3): 297-318. 2000.
  •  25
    Seeing what is there
    In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), John Searle's Philosophy of Language: Force, Meaning and Mind, Cambridge University Press. pp. 79. 2007.
  •  96
    On the Obvious
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (2): 333-355. 2000.
    lnfallibilism about a priori justification is the thesis that for an agent A to be a priori justified in believing p, that which justifies A’s belief that p must guarantee the truth of p. No analogous thesis is thought to obtain for empirically justified beliefs. The aim of this article is to argue that infallibilism about the a priori is an untenable philosophical position and to provide theoretical understanding why we not only can be, but rather must be, a priori justified in believing some f…Read more
  •  336
    Expressivism and the offensiveness of slurs
    Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1): 231-259. 2013.
  •  205
    The identity of indiscernibles and the co-location problem
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2). 2006.
    The Identity of Indiscernibles is the principle that there cannot be two individual things in nature that are qualitatively identical. The principle is not exactly popular. Michael Della Rocca tries to resurrect it by arguing that we must accept this principle, for otherwise we cannot explain the impossibility of completely overlapping indiscernible objects of the same kind that share all their parts and exist in the same place at the same time. I try to show that his argument goes wrong: we nee…Read more
  •  408
    Slurs and Stereotypes
    Analytic Philosophy 54 (3): 314-329. 2013.
  •  107
    Intuiting the infinite
    Philosophical Studies 171 (2): 327-349. 2014.
    This paper offers a defense of Charles Parsons’ appeal to mathematical intuition as a fundamental factor in solving Benacerraf’s problem for a non-eliminative structuralist version of Platonism. The literature is replete with challenges to his well-known argument that mathematical intuition justifies our knowledge of the infinitude of the natural numbers, in particular his demonstration that any member of a Hilbertian stroke string ω-sequence has a successor. On Parsons’ Kantian approach, this a…Read more
  •  7
    Acquiantanceless De Re Belief'
    In Joseph Keim-Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth: Investigations in Philosophical Semantics., Seven Bridges Press. pp. 53-74. 2002.
  •  108
    Thoughts and ideas (review)
    Philosophical Studies 137 (3). 2008.
  •  103
    ‘The’ Problem for the-Predicativism
    Philosophical Review 126 (2): 219-240. 2017.
    Clarence Sloat, Ora Matushansky, and Delia Graff Fara advocate a Syntactic Rationale on behalf of predicativism, the view that names are predicates in all of their occurrences. Each argues that a set of surprising syntactic data compels us to recognize names as a special variety of count noun. This data set, they say, reveals that names’ interaction with the determiner system differs from that of common count nouns only with respect to the definite article ‘the’. They conclude that this special …Read more
  •  126
    Soames on descriptive reference-fixing
    Philosophical Issues 16 (1). 2006.