•  572
    Resource rationality may explain suboptimal patterns of reasoning; but what of “anti-Bayesian” effects where the mind updates in a direction opposite the one it should? We present two phenomena — belief polarization and the size-weight illusion — that are not obviously explained by performance- or resource-based constraints, nor by the authors’ brief discussion of reference repulsion. Can resource rationality accommodate them?
  •  150
    Linguistic Judgments As Evidence
    In Nicholas Allott, Terje Lohndal & Georges Rey (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Chomsky, Wiley-blackwell. forthcoming.
    An overview of debates surrounding the use of meta-linguistic judgments in linguistics, including recent relevant empirical results.
  •  253
    Nick Shea’s Representation in Cognitive Science commits him to representations in perceptual processing that are about probabilities. This commentary concerns how to adjudicate between this view and an alternative that locates the probabilities rather in the representational states’ associated “attitudes”. As background and motivation, evidence for probabilistic representations in perceptual processing is adduced, and it is shown how, on either conception, one can address a specific challenge Ne…Read more
  •  155
    Linguistic Intuitions: Error Signals and the Voice of Competence
    In Samuel Schindler, Anna Drożdżowicz & Karen Brøcker (eds.), Linguistic Intuitions, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Linguistic intuitions are a central source of evidence across a variety of linguistic domains. They have also long been a source of controversy. This chapter aims to illuminate the etiology and evidential status of at least some linguistic intuitions by relating them to error signals of the sort posited by accounts of on-line monitoring of speech production and comprehension. The suggestion is framed as a novel reply to Michael Devitt’s claim that linguistic intuitions are theory-laden “central …Read more
  •  1272
    Linguistic Intuitions
    Philosophy Compass 8 (8): 714-730. 2013.
    Linguists often advert to what are sometimes called linguistic intuitions. These intuitions and the uses to which they are put give rise to a variety of philosophically interesting questions: What are linguistic intuitions – for example, what kind of attitude or mental state is involved? Why do they have evidential force and how might this force be underwritten by their causal etiology? What light might their causal etiology shed on questions of cognitive architecture – for example, as a case st…Read more
  •  305
    Theories of consciousness divide over whether perceptual consciousness is rich or sparse in specific representational content and whether it requires cognitive access. These two issues are often treated in tandem because of a shared assumption that the representational capacity of cognitive access is fairly limited. Recent research on working memory challenges this shared assumption. This paper argues that abandoning the assumption undermines post-cue-based “overflow” arguments, according to whi…Read more
  •  14
    Knowledge of Meaning, Conscious and Unconscious
    The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 5. 2009.
    This paper motivates two bases for ascribing propositional semantic knowledge : first, because it's necessary to rationalize linguistic action; and, second, because it's part of an empirical theory that would explain various aspects of linguistic behavior. The semantic knowledge ascribed on these two bases seems to differ in content, epistemic status, and cognitive role. This raises the question: how are they related, if at all? The bulk of the paper addresses this question. It distinguishes a v…Read more
  •  194
    Putnam, Context, and Ontology
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (4). 2004.
    When a debate seems intractable, with little agreement as to how one might proceed towards a resolution, it is understandable that philosophers should consider whether something might be amiss with the debate itself. Famously in the last century, philosophers of various stripes explored in various ways the possibility that at least certain philosophical debates are in some manner deficient in sense. Such moves are no longer so much in vogue. For one thing, the particular ways they have been made…Read more
  •  65
    Drawing upon research in philosophical logic, linguistics and cognitive science, this study explores how our ability to use and understand language depends upon our capacity to keep track of complex features of the contexts in which we converse.
  •  98
    Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism
    Philosophical Review 111 (2): 284. 2002.
    This is a book review of: Robert B. Brandom, Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. Pp. 230.
  •  374
    Can one combine Davidsonian semantics with a deflationary conception of truth? Williams argues, contra a common worry, that Davidsonian semantics does not require truth-talk to play an explanatory role. Horisk replies that, in any event, the expressive role of truth-talk that Williams emphasizes disqualifies deflationary accounts—at least extant varieties—from combination with Davidsonian semantics. She argues, in particular, that this is so for Quine's disquotationalism, Horwich's minimalism, a…Read more
  •  98
    The nature of semantics: On Jackendoff's arguments
    Linguistic Review 22 249-270. 2005.
    Jackendoff defends a mentalist approach to semantics that investigates conceptual structures in the mind/brain and their interfaces with other structures, including specifically linguistic structures responsible for syntactic and phonological competence. He contrasts this approach with one that seeks to characterize the intentional relations between expressions and objects in the world. The latter, he argues, cannot be reconciled with mentalism. He objects in particular that intentionality canno…Read more
  •  738
    Knowledge of Meaning, Conscious and Unconscious
    The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication. 2010.
    This paper motivates two bases for ascribing propositional semantic knowledge (or something knowledgelike): first, because it’s necessary to rationalize linguistic action; and, second, because it’s part of an empirical theory that would explain various aspects of linguistic behavior. The semantic knowledge ascribed on these two bases seems to differ in content, epistemic status, and cognitive role. This raises the question: how are they related, if at all? The bulk of the paper addresses this qu…Read more
  •  309
    Cognitive Penetration and Attention
    Frontiers in Psychology 8 1-12. 2017.
    Zenon Pylyshyn argues that cognitively driven attentional effects do not amount to cognitive penetration of early vision because such effects occur either before or after early vision. Critics object that in fact such effects occur at all levels of perceptual processing. We argue that Pylyshyn’s claim is correct—but not for the reason he emphasizes. Even if his critics are correct that attentional effects are not external to early vision, these effects do not satisfy Pylyshyn’s requirements that…Read more
  •  74
    What’s Within? Nativism Reconsidered (review)
    Philosophical Review 110 (1): 94-97. 2001.
    Fiona Cowie’s _What’s Within_ consists of three parts. In the first, she examines the early modern rationalist- empiricist debate over nativism, isolating what she considers the two substantive “strands” (67)1 that truly separated them: whether there exist domain-specific learning mechanisms, and whether concept acquisition is amenable to naturalistic explanation. She then turns, in the book’s succeeding parts, to where things stand today with these issues. The second part argues that Jerry Fodo…Read more
  •  82
    Sincerely saying what you don't believe again
    Dialectica 62 (3): 349-354. 2008.
    Cappelen and Lepore (2005) argue that "[s]peakers need not believe everything they sincerely say." I argue that their latest (2006a) defence of this claim proposes a problematic principle that does not yield their surprising conclusion.
  •  14
    Concepts, the 1996 John Locke Lectures, synthesizes and develops Fodor’s views on the eponymous topic. It’s immensely stimulating. Anyone working in the area will need to study its trenchant critical discussion of key positions in philosophy, linguistics, and psychology. These readers will be rewarded as well by the book’s many illuminating asides and its more constructive closing chapters. With its wealth of ideas and enjoyably Fodorian prose, Concepts auspiciously inaugurates the Oxford Cognit…Read more
  •  66
    There is nothing in [the six chapters that make up the body of Articulating Reasons] that will come as a surprise to anyone who has mastered [Making It Explicit]. … I had in mind audiences that had perhaps not so much as dipped into the big book but were curious about its themes and philosophical consequences. (35–36).
  •  432
    Perception and the Origins of Temporal Representation
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1): 275-292. 2017.
    Is temporal representation constitutively necessary for perception? Tyler Burge (2010) argues that it is, in part because perception requires a form of memory sufficiently sophisticated as to require temporal representation. I critically discuss Burge’s argument, maintaining that it does not succeed. I conclude by reflecting on the consequences for the origins of temporal representation.
  •  115
    Trivalent Semantics and the Vaguely Vague
    Synthese 156 (1): 97-117. 2007.
    Michael Tye responds to the problem of higher-order vagueness for his trivalent semantics by maintaining that truth-value predicates are “vaguely vague”: it’s indeterminate, on his view, whether they have borderline cases and therefore indeterminate whether every sentence is true, false, or indefinite. Rosanna Keefe objects (1) that Tye’s argument for this claim tacitly assumes that every sentence is true, false, or indefinite, and (2) that the conclusion is any case not viable. I argue – contra…Read more
  •  311
    Review of Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context (review)
    Philosophical Review 118 (2): 261-266. 2009.
    Stewart Shapiro’s book develops a contextualist approach to vagueness. It’s chock-full of ideas and arguments, laid out in wonderfully limpid prose. Anyone working on vagueness (or the other topics it touches on—see below) will want to read it. According to Shapiro, vague terms have borderline cases: there are objects to which the term neither determinately applies nor determinately does not apply. A term determinately applies in a context iff the term’s meaning and the non-linguistic facts dete…Read more
  •  132
    Linguistic understanding and belief
    Mind 114 (453): 61-66. 2005.
    Comment on Dean Pettit, who replies in same issue
  •  104
    According to cognitivist truth-theoretic accounts of semantic competence, aspects of our linguistic behavior can be explained by ascribing to speakers cognition of truth theories. It's generally assumed on this approach that, however much context sensitivity speakers' languages contain, the cognized truththeories themselves can be adequately characterized context insensitively—that is, without using in the metalanguage expressions whose semantic value can vary across occasions of utterance. In t…Read more
  •  997
    Are linguists better subjects?
    with Jennifer Culbertson
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4): 721-736. 2009.
    Who are the best subjects for judgment tasks intended to test grammatical hypotheses? Michael Devitt ( [2006a] , [2006b] ) argues, on the basis of a hypothesis concerning the psychology of such judgments, that linguists themselves are. We present empirical evidence suggesting that the relevant divide is not between linguists and non-linguists, but between subjects with and without minimally sufficient task-specific knowledge. In particular, we show that subjects with at least some minimal exposu…Read more
  •  570
    Does perceptual consciousness require cognitive access? Ned Block argues that it does not. Central to his case are visual memory experiments that employ post-stimulus cueing—in particular, Sperling's classic partial report studies, change-detection work by Lamme and colleagues, and a recent paper by Bronfman and colleagues that exploits our perception of ‘gist’ properties. We argue contra Block that these experiments do not support his claim. Our reinterpretations differ from previous critics' i…Read more
  •  75
    Should a theory of meaning state what sentences mean, and can a Davidsonian theory of meaning in particular do so? Max Kölbel answers both questions affirmatively. I argue, however, that the phenomena of non-homophony, non-truth-conditional aspects of meaning, semantic mood, and context-sensitivity provide prima facie obstacles for extending Davidsonian truth-theories to yield meaning-stating theorems. Assessing some natural moves in reply requires a more fully developed conception of the task o…Read more