Cynthia Macdonald University of Manchester
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  • Faculty, University of Manchester
  • DPhil, Oxford University, 1982.

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About me
My primary interests lie in an area intersecting philosophy of mind and metaphysics, and in cognitive science; specifically, on the topics of mental causation and explanation, the nature of psychological explanation, and externalism and self-knowledge. I am currently engaged in two main research projects. One is on the topic of authoritative self-knowledge. The other, with Graham Macdonald, is on the topic of mental causation and explanation in the special sciences.
My works
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  1. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2012). The Epistemology of Meaning. In Dan Ryder, Justine Kingsbury & Kenneth Williford (eds.), Millikan and Her Critics. Wiley-Blackwell. 221--240.
  2. William Fish & Cynthia Macdonald (2011). McDowell's Alternative Conceptions of the World. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (1):87-94.
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  3. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2010). Emergence and Downward Causation. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
  4. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2010). Introduction. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oup Oxford.
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  5. Graham Macdonald & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.) (2010). Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
    The volume also extends the debate about emergence by considering the independence of chemical properties from physical properties, and investigating what would ...
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  6. William Fish & Cynthia Macdonald (2009). The Identity Theory of Truth and the Realm of Reference: Where Dodd Goes Wrong. Analysis 69 (2):297-304.
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  7. C. Macdonald (2009). Nicholas Maxwell in Context: The Relationship of His Wisdom Theses to the Contemporary Global Interest in Wisdom. In Leemon McHenry (ed.), Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom. Ontos Verlag. 61--81.
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  8. C. Macdonald (2008). Review: Gregg Ten Elshof: Introspection Vindicated. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (465):176-180.
  9. Cynthia Macdonald (2008). Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Authoritative Self-Knowledge. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):319-346.
    Many recent discussions of self-consciousness and self-knowledge assume that there are only two kinds of accounts available to be taken on the relation between the so-called first-order (conscious) states and subjects' awareness or knowledge of them: a same-order, or reflexive view, on the one hand, or a higher-order one, on the other. I maintain that there is a third kind of view that is distinctively different from these two options. The view is important because it can accommodate and make intelligible (...)
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  10. Cynthia Macdonald (2008). Introspection. In A. Beckermann & B. McLaughlin (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.
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  11. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2008). Explanation in Historiography. In A. Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography. Blackwell.
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  12. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2008). Reductionism: Historiography and Psychology. In A. Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography. Blackwell.
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  13. Marc Slors & Cynthia Macdonald (2008). Rethinking Folk-Psychology: Alternatives to Theories of Mind. Philosophical Explorations 11 (3):153 – 161.
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  14. William Fish & Cynthia Macdonald (2007). On McDowell's Identity Conception of Truth. Analysis 67 (293):36-41.
  15. Cynthia Macdonald (2007). Physicalism, or Something Near Enough. Philosophical Books 48 (2):155-161.
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  16. Cynthia Macdonald (2007). Introspection and Authoritative Self-Knowledge. Erkenntnis 67 (2):355 - 372.
    In this paper I outline and defend an introspectionist account of authoritative self-knowledge for a certain class of cases, ones in which a subject is both thinking and thinking about a current, conscious thought. My account is distinctive in a number of ways, one of which is that it is compatible with the truth of externalism.
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  17. Cynthia Macdonald (2007). Real Metaphysics and the Descriptive/Revisionary Distinction. In Cornelis De Waal (ed.), Susan Haack: A Lady of Distinctions: The Philosopher Responds to Critics. Prometheus Books.
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  18. Cynthia Macdonald (2006). Self-Knowledge and Inner Space. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), McDowell and His Critics. Blackwell. 73--88.
  19. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2006). Beyond Program Explanation. In Geoffrey Brennan, Robert E. Goodin & Michael A. Smith (eds.), Common Minds: Essays in Honour of Philip Pettit. Oxford. 1--27.
  20. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.) (2006). Mcdowell and His Critics. Blackwell Pub..
    The most comprehensive discussion available of the work of philosopher, John McDowell. Contains newly commissioned papers by distinguished philosophers on McDowell’s work, along with substantial replies to each by McDowell himself. The contributors are philosophers with international reputations for their work in the areas in which they are contributing. Covers the whole of McDowell’s philosophy, including his contributions in ancient philosophy, moral philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics and epistemology. McDowell’s replies to the contributions in this volume contribute (...)
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  21. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (2006). The Metaphysics of Mental Causation. Journal of Philosophy 103 (11):539-576.
    A debate has been raging in the philosophy of mind for at least the past two decades. It concerns whether the mental can make a causal difference to the world. Suppose that I am reading the newspaper and it is getting dark. I switch on the light, and continue with my reading. One explanation of why my switching on of the light occurred is that a desiring with a particular content (that I continue reading), a noticing with a particular content (...)
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  22. Cynthia Macdonald (2005). Book Note. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):615.
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  23. Cynthia Macdonald (2005). Varieties of Things: Foundations of Contemporary Metaphysics. Blackwell.
    This text explores the different ontological categories of things that we encounter in everyday life, including material substances, persons, abstract things ...
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  24. Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Mary Meets Molyneux: The Explanatory Gap and the Individuation of Phenomenal Concepts. Noûs 38 (3):503-24.
    It is widely accepted that physicalism faces its most serious challenge when it comes to making room for the phenomenal character of psychological experience, its so-called what-it-is-like aspect. The challenge has surfaced repeatedly over the past two decades in a variety of forms. In a particularly striking one, Frank Jackson considers a situation in which Mary, a brilliant scientist who knows all the physical facts there are to know about psychological experience, has spent the whole of her life in a (...)
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  25. Cynthia Macdonald (2004). Self-Knowledge and the First Person. In M. Sie, Marc Slors & B. Van den Brink (eds.), Reasons of One's Own. Ashgate.
    It is a familiar view in the philosophy of mind and action is that for a thought or attitude to constitute a reason for an action is for it to render intelligible, in the light of norms of rationality or reason, that action. However, I can make sense of your actions in this way by crediting you with attitudes that I myself do not hold. Equally, you can do this for my actions. So not all reasons for one’s actions are (...)
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  26. Cynthia Macdonald (2002). Perception and Reason. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (1):117 – 119.
    Book Information Perception and Reason. By Bill Brewer. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 1999. Pp. xviii + 281.
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  27. Cynthia Macdonald (2002). Theories of Mind and 'the Commonsense View'. Mind and Language 17 (5):467-488.
  28. Cynthia Macdonald (2000). Subjects of Experience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):224-228.
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  29. Cynthia Macdonald (1999). Shoemaker on Self-Knowledge and Inner Sense. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (3):711-38.
    What is introspective knowledge of one's own intentional states like? This paper aims to make plausible the view that certain cases of self-knowledge, namely the cogito-type ones, are enough like perception to count as cases of quasi-observation. To this end it considers the highly influential arguments developed by Sydney Shoemaker in his recent Royce Lectures. These present the most formidable challenge to the view that certain cases of self-knowledge are quasi-observational and so deserve detailed examination. Shoemaker's arguments are directed against (...)
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  30. Stephen Laurence & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.) (1998). Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics. Blackwell Publishers.
     
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  31. Cynthia Macdonald (1998). Externalism and Authoritative Self-Knowledge. In C. Wright, B. Smith & C. Macdonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds. Oxford University Press. 123-155.
    Externalism in the philosophy of mind has been thought by many to pose a serious threat to the claim that subjects are in general authoritative with regard to certain of their own intentional states.<sup>1</sup> In a series of papers, Tyler Burge (1985_a_, 1985_b_, 1988, 1996) has argued that the distinctive entitlement or right that subjects have to self- knowledge in certain cases is compatible with externalism, since that entitlement is environmentally neutral, neutral with respect to the issue of the individuation (...)
     
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  32. Cynthia Macdonald (1998). Externalism and Norms. In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Contemporary Issues in the Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge University Press. 273-301.
  33. Cynthia Macdonald (1998). Self-Knowledge and the "Inner Eye&Quot;. Philosophical Explorations 1 (2):83-106.
    What is knowledge of one's own current, consciously entertained intentional states a form of inner awareness? If so, what form? In this paper I explore the prospects for a quasi-observational account of a certain class of cases where subjects appear to have self-knowledge, namely, the so-called cogito-like cases. In section one I provide a rationale for the claim that we need an epistemology of self-knowledge, and specifically, an epistemology of the cogito-like cases. In section two I argue that contentful properties (...)
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  34. Cynthia Macdonald (1998). Self-Knowledge and the 'Inner Eye'. Philosophical Explorations 1 (2):83-106.
    What is knowledge of one's own current, consciously entertained intentional states a form of inner awareness? If so, what form? In this paper I explore the prospects for a quasi-observational account of a certain class of cases where subjects appear to have self-knowledge, namely, the so-called cogito-like cases. In section one I provide a rationale for the claim that we need an epistemology of self-knowledge, and specifically, an epistemology of the cogito-like cases. In section two I argue that contentful properties (...)
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  35. Cynthia Macdonald (1998). State of the Art Essay. In S. Laurence C. MacDonald (ed.), Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics. Basil Blackwell. 329.
     
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  36. Cynthia Macdonald (1998). Tropes and Other Things. In Stephen Laurence & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.), Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics. Blackwell.
    Our day-to-day experience of the world regularly brings us into contact with middlesized objects such as apples, dogs, and other human beings. These objects possess observable properties, properties that are available or accessible to the unaided senses, such as redness and roundness, as well as properties that are not so available, such as chemical ones. Both of these kinds of properties serve as valuable sources of information about our familiar middle-sized objects at least to the extent that they enable us (...)
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  37. Crispin Wright, Barry C. Smith & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.) (1998). Knowing Our Own Minds. Oxford University Press.
    Knowledge of one's own sensations, desires, intentions, thoughts, beliefs, and other attitudes is characteristically different from other kinds of knowledge: it has greater immediacy, authority, and salience. This volume offers a powerful and comprehensive look at current work on this topic, featuring closely interlinked essays by leading figures in the field that examine philosophical questions raised by the distinctive character of self-knowledge, relating it to knowledge of other minds, to rationality and agency, externalist theories of psychological content, and knowledge of (...)
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  38. C. MacDonald (1997). Connectionism and Eliminativism+ Folk Psychology. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 5 (2):316-322.
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  39. Cynthia Macdonald (1997). Naturalizing the Mind By Fred Dretske Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1996. Pp. Xiii + 208. Philosophy 72 (279):150-.
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  40. Jonathan Wolff & Cynthia Macdonald (1997). Critical Notices. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 5 (2):306 – 322.
    An Essay On Rights By Hillel Steiner Basil Blackwell, 1994. Pp. x + 305. ISBN 0-631-19027-9. Price 14.95 Connectionism and eliminativism: reply to Stephen Mills in Vol. 5, No. 1.
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  41. C. Macdonald (1995). Tacit Knowledge. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Blackwell.
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  42. C. MacDonald & G. MacDonald (1995). Introduction: Supervenient Causation. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Philosophy of Psychology. Blackwell. 4--28.
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  43. Cynthia Macdonald (1995). Anti-Individualism and Psychological Explanation. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
  44. Cynthia Macdonald (1995). Connectionism and Eliminativism. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (eds.), Connectionism: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
     
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  45. Cynthia Macdonald (1995). Classicism Vs. Connectionism. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (eds.), Connectionism: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Blackwell.
     
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  46. Cynthia Macdonald (1995). Externalism and First-Person Authority. Synthese 104 (1):99-122.
    Externalism in the philosophy of mind is threatened by the view that subjects are authoritative with regard to the contents of their own intentional states. If externalism is to be reconciled with first-person authority, two issues need to be addressed: (a) how the non-evidence-based character of knowledge of one's own intentional states is compatible with ignorance of the empirical factors that individuate the contents of those states, and (b) how, given externalism, the non-evidence-based character of such knowledge could place its (...)
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  47. Cynthia Macdonald (1995). Psychophysical Supervenience, Dependency, and Reduction. In Elias E. Savellos & U. Yalcin (eds.), Supervenience: New Essays. Cambridge University Press. 140--57.
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  48. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.) (1995). Connectionism: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Blackwell.
  49. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.) (1995). Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Blackwell.
  50. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (1995). Causal Relevance and Explanatory Exclusion. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
     
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  51. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (1995). How to Be Psychologically Relevant. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Blackwell.
    How did I raise my arm? The simple answer is that I raised it as a consequence of intending to raise it. A slightly more complicated response would mention the absence of any factors which would inhibit the execution of the intention- and a more complicated one still would specify the intention in terms of a goal (say, drinking a beer) which requires arm-raising as a means towards that end. Whatever the complications, the simple answer appears to be on the (...)
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  52. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (1995). Supervenient Causation. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
     
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  53. Cynthia Macdonald (1994). Sensations. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1):237-239.
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  54. Cynthia Macdonald (1993). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] Mind 102 (405):328-359.
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  55. Cynthia Macdonald (1993). The Future of Folk Psychology. Philosophical Books 34 (2):114-116.
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  56. Cynthia Macdonald (1992). Psychological Type-Type Reduction Via Disjunction. Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):65-69.
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  57. Cynthia Macdonald (1992). Weak Externalism and Psychological Reduction. In David Charles & Kathleen Lennon (eds.), Reduction, Explanation and Realism. Oxford University Press.
     
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  58. Cynthia Macdonald (1991). A Combinatorial Theory of Possibility. Philosophical Books 32 (3):163-164.
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  59. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (1991). Mental Causation and Nonreductive Monism. Analysis 51 (January):23-32.
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  60. Peter Carruthers & Cynthia Macdonald (1990). What Is Empiricism? Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 64:63 - 92.
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  61. C. Macdonald (1990). Weak Externalism and Mind-Body Identity. Mind 99 (395):387-404.
  62. Cynthia Macdonald (1990). What is Empiricism?--, Nativism, Naturalism, and Evolutionary Theory. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 81:81-92.
  63. Frank Cioffi Obscurantism, G. A. Equality, Keith Graham, Peter Carruthers, Cynthia MacDonald, Paul Snowden, Howard Robinson, David Over, Paul Guyer & Ralph Walker (1990). The Mind Bursary. Mind 99:394.
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  64. Cynthia Macdonald (1989). Mind-Body Identity Theories. Routledge.
    Chapter One The most plausible arguments for the identity of mind and body that have been advanced in this century have been for the identity of mental ...
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  65. Cynthia Macdonald & Anthony Appiah (1987). Mind, Meaning, and Assertion. Philosophical Books 28 (4):193-205.
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  66. C. Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (1986). Mental Causes and the Explanation of Action. Philosophical Quarterly 36 (143):145-158.
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  67. Cynthia Macdonald (1986). Constitutive Properties, Essences, and Events. Philosophia 16 (1):29-43.
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  68. Cynthia Macdonald & Graham F. Macdonald (1986). Mental Causes and Explanation of Action. Philosophical Quarterly 36 (April):145-58.
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  69. Cynthia Macdonald (1985). Mind-Body Identity and the Subjects of Events. Philosophical Studies 48 (July):73-82.
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  70. Cynthia Macdonald (1981). Can Events Change? Philosophia 9 (3-4):317-329.
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