•  35
    Global Expressivism
    In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics, Routledge. pp. 270-283. 2020.
    In this chapter I consider the prospects of globalizing expressivism. Expressivism is a position in the philosophy of language that questions the central role of representation in a theory of meaning or linguistic function. An expressivist about a domain D of discourse proposes that utterances of sentences in D should not be seen, at the level of analysis as representing how things are, but as expression of non-representational states. So, in the domain of value-utterances, the standard idea is …Read more
  •  883
    Cognitive Expressivism, Faultless Disagreement, and Absolute but Non-Objective Truth
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2): 183-199. 2010.
    I offer a new theory of faultless disagreement, according to which truth is absolute (non-relative) but can still be non-objective. What's relative is truth-aptness: a sentence like ‘Vegemite is tasty’ (V) can be truth-accessible and bivalent in one context but not in another. Within a context in which V fails to be bivalent, we can affirm that there is no issue of truth or falsity about V, still disputants, affirming and denying V, were not at fault, since, in their context of assertion V was b…Read more
  •  244
    Material Objects and Essential Bundle Theory
    with Mark Jago
    Philosophical Studies 175 (12): 2969-2986. 2018.
    In this paper we present a new metaphysical theory of material objects. On our theory, objects are bundles of property instances, where those properties give the nature or essence of that object. We call the theory essential bundle theory. Property possession is not analysed as bundle-membership, as in traditional bundle theories, since accidental properties are not included in the object’s bundle. We have a different story to tell about accidental property possession. This move reaps many benef…Read more
  • Freedom from Social Science
    Philosophie Et Culture: Actes du XVIIe Congrès Mondial de Philosophie 2 549-553. 1988.
  •  216
    Endurance is paradoxical
    with Phil Dowe
    Analysis 65 (1): 69-74. 2005.
  • The Mirror and the Dagger
    In Steve Martinot (ed.), Maps and Mirrors: Topologies of Art and Politics, Northwestern University Press. pp. 83. 2001.
  •  2
    Leaving Things to Take their Chances: Cause and Disposition Grounded in Chance
    In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes, Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press ;. pp. 100-126. 2009.
  •  520
    There is a wide-spread belief amongst theorists of mind and language. This is that in order to understand the relation between language, thought, and reality we need a theory of meaning and content, that is, a normative, formal science of meaning, which is an extension and theoretical deepening of folk ideas about meaning. This book argues that this is false, offering an alternative idea: The form of a theory that illuminates the relation of language, thought, and reality is a theory of language…Read more
  •  1099
    Semantics without the distinction between sense and force
    In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), John Searle's Philosophy of Language: Force, Meaning, and Mind, Cambridge University Press. pp. 190-210. 2007.
    At the heart of semantics in the 20th century is Frege’s distinction between sense and force. This is the idea that the content of a self-standing utterance of a sentence S can be divided into two components. One part, the sense, is the proposition that S’s linguistic meaning and context associates with it as its semantic interpretation. The second component is S’s illocutionary force. Illocutionary forces correspond to the three basic kinds of sentential speech acts: assertions, orders, and que…Read more
  •  79
    This book develops an alternative approach to sentence- and word-meaning, which I dub the speech-act theoretic approach, or STA. Instead of employing the syntactic and semantic forms of modern logic–principally, quantification theory–to construct semantic theories, STA employs speech-act structures. The structures it employs are those postulated by a novel theory of speech-acts. STA develops a compositional semantics in which surface grammar is integrated with semantic interpretation in a way no…Read more
  •  27
    Towards a pragmatic theory of 'if'
    Philosophical Studies 79 (2). 1995.
  •  91
    Troubles with Horgan and Timmons' nondescriptivist cognitivism
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1): 235-255. 2002.
    Emotivist, or non-descriptivist metaethical theories hold that value-statements do not function by describing special value-facts, but are the mere expressions of naturalistically describable motivational states of (valuing) agents. Non-descriptivism has typically been combined with the claim that value-statements are non-cognitive: they are not the manifestations of genuine belief states. However, all the linguistic, logical and phenomenological evidence indicates that value-statements are cogn…Read more
  •  47
    The consequent-entailment problem foreven if
    Linguistics and Philosophy 17 (3). 1994.
    A comprehensive theory ofeven if needs to account for consequent ‘entailing’even ifs and in particular those of theif-focused variety. This is where the theory ofeven if ceases to be neutral between conditional theories. I have argued thatif-focusedeven ifs,especially if andonly if can only be accounted for through the suppositional theory ofif. Furthermore, a particular interpretation of this theory — the conditional assertion theory — is needed to account foronly if and a type of metalinguisti…Read more
  •  55
    PET imaging of conscious and unconscious verbal memory
    with M. T. Alkire, R. J. Haier, and J. H. Fallon
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5-6): 448-62. 1996.
    One method for investigating the neurobiology of consciousness is to experimentally manipulate consciousness as a variable and then visualize the resultant functional brain changes with advanced imaging techniques. To begin investigation into this area, healthy volunteers underwent positron emission tomography scanning while listening to randomized word lists in both conscious and unconscious conditions. Following anaesthesia, subjects had no explicit memories. Nonetheless, subjects demonstrated…Read more
  •  179
    Let us call dispositional monism the view that all natural properties have their identities fixed purely by their dispositional features, that is, by the patterns of stimulus and response in which they participate. DM implies that natural properties are pure powers: things whose natures are fully identified by their roles in determining the potentialities of events to cause or be caused. As pure powers, properties are meant to lack quiddities in Black's sense. A property possesses a quiddity jus…Read more
  •  851
    Truth-Bearers and the Unsaid
    In Ken Turner (ed.), Making Semantics Pragmatic, Cambridge University Press. 2011.
    I argue that conventional implicatures embed in logical compounds, and are non-truth-conditional contributors to sentence meaning. This, I argue has significant implications for how we understand truth, truth-conditional content, and truth-bearers.
  •  189
    Paradoxes of multi-location
    with Phil Dowe
    Analysis 63 (2). 2003.
  •  71
    Figurative Speech: Pointing a Poisoned Arrow at the Heart of Semantics
    Philosophical Studies 174 (1): 123-140. 2017.
    I argue that figurative speech, and irony in particular, presents a deep challenge to the orthodox view about sentence content. The standard view is that sentence contents are, at their core, propositional contents: truth-conditional contents. Moreover, the only component of a sentence’s content that embeds in compound sentences, like belief reports or conditionals, is the propositional content. I argue that a careful analysis of irony shows this view cannot be maintained. Irony is a purely prag…Read more
  •  149
    It seems to be generally accepted that (a) counterfactual conditionals are to be analysed in terms of possible worlds and inter-world relations of similarity and (b) causation is conceptually prior to counterfactuals. I argue here that both (a) and (b) are false. The argument against (a) is not a general metaphysical or epistemological one but simply that, structurally speaking, possible worlds theories are wrong: this is revealed when we try to extend them to cover the case of probabilistic cou…Read more
  •  307
    Truth and conventional implicature
    Mind 112 (445): 1-34. 2003.
    Are all instances of the T-schema assertable? I argue that they are not. The reason is the presence of conventional implicature in a language. Conventional implicature is meant to be a component of the rule-based content that a sentence can have, but it makes no contribution to the sentence's truth-conditions. One might think that a conventional implicature is like a force operator. But it is not, since it can enter into the scope of logical operators. It follows that the semantic content of a s…Read more
  •  69
    Material implication and general indicative conditionals
    Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187): 195-211. 1997.
    This paper falls into two parts. In the first part, I argue that consideration of general indicative conditionals, e.g., sentences like If a donkey brays it is beaten, provides a powerful argument that a pure material implication analysis of indicative if p, q is correct. In the second part I argue, opposing writers like Jackson, that a Gricean style theory of pragmatics can explain the manifest assertability conditions of if p, q in terms of its conventional content – assumed to be merely (p⊃q)…Read more
  •  507
    Can we believe that there are non-existent entities without commitment to the Meinongian metaphysics? This paper argues we can. What leads us from quantification over non-existent beings to Meinongianism is a general metaphysical assumption about reality at large, and not merely quantification over the non-existent. Broadly speaking, the assumption is that every being we talk about must have a real definition. It’s this assumption that drives us to enquire into the nature of beings like Pegasus,…Read more
  •  207
    A dilemma for the counterfactual analysis of causation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1). 2003.
    If we seek to analyse causation in terms of counterfactual conditionals then we must assume that there is a class of counterfactuals whose members (i) are all and only those we need to support our judgements of causation, (ii) have truth-conditions specifiable without any irreducible appeal to causation. I argue that (i) and (ii) are unlikely to be met by any counterfactual analysis of causation. I demonstrate this by isolating a class of counterfactuals called non-projective counterfactuals, or…Read more
  •  42
    The Experiential Thesis: Audi on Intrinsic Value
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (S1): 57-61. 2003.