• Individuation and the semantics of demonstratives
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 11 (3). 1982.
    Obsessed by the cases where things go wrong, we pay too little attention to the vastly more numerous cases where they go right, and where it is perhaps easier to see that the descriptive content of the expression concerned is wholly at the service of this function [of identifying reference], a function which is complementary to that of predication and contains no element of predication in itself (Strawson [1974], p. 66).An earlier version of the paper was written during an enjoyable year spent a…Read more
  • Soames on descriptive reference-fixing
    Philosophical Issues 16 (1). 2006.
  • Epistemic modals, relativism and assertion
    Philosophical Studies 133 (1): 1--22. 2007.
    I think that there are good reasons to adopt a relativist semantics for epistemic modal claims such as ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', according to which such utterances determine a truth value relative to something finer-grained than just a world (or a <world, time> pair). Anyone who is inclined to relativise truth to more than just worlds and times faces a problem about assertion. It's easy to be puzzled about just what purpose would be served by assertions of this kind, and how…Read more
  • Presupposition and Context Sensitivity
    Ernie Lepore and Adam Sennet
    Mind and Language 29 (5): 613-627. 2014.
    We argue there is a clash between the standard treatments of context sensitivity and presupposition triggering. We use this criticism to motivate a defense of an often-discarded view about how to represent context sensitivity, according to which there are more lexically implicit items in logical form than has been appreciated
  • Against the Mental Files Conception of Singular Thought
    Rachel Goodman
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1-25. forthcoming.
    It has become popular of late to identify the phenomenon of thinking a singular thought with that of thinking with a mental file. Proponents of the mental files conception of singular thought claim that one thinks a singular thought about an object o iff one employs a mental file to think about o. I argue that this is false by arguing that there are what I call descriptive mental files, so some file-based thought is not singular thought. Descriptive mental files are mental files for which descri…Read more
  • No Easy Argument for Two-Dimensionalism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4): 775-781. 2014.
    Some opponents of epistemic two-dimensionalism say that the view should be rejected on the grounds that it misclassifies certain a posteriori claims as a priori. Elliott, McQueen, &amp; Weber [2013] have argued that any argument of this form must fail. I argue that this conclusion is mistaken, and defend my argument [Speaks (2010] against their criticisms
  • On deriving essentialism from the theory of reference
    Philosophical Studies 172 (8): 2141-2151. 2015.
    Causal theories of reference for natural kind terms are widely agreed to play a central role in arguments for the claim that theoretical identity statements such as “Water is H2O” are necessary, if true. However, there is also fairly wide-spread agreement, due to the arguments of Nathan Salmon, that causal theories of reference do not alone establish such essentialism about natural kinds: an independent, non-trivial essentialist premise is also needed. In this paper I will question this latter a…Read more