Steven Gross Johns Hopkins University
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  • Faculty, Johns Hopkins University
  • PhD, Harvard University, 1998.

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  1. Steven Gross & Georges Rey (forthcoming). Innateness. In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
    A survey of innateness in cognitive science, focusing on (1) what innateness might be, and (2) whether concepts might be innate.
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  2. Steven Gross, Michael Williams & Nicholas Tebben (eds.) (forthcoming). Pragmatism, Minimalism and Metaphysics.
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  3. Jeffrey Maynes & Steven Gross (2013). Linguistic Intuitions. Philosophy Compass 8 (8):714-730.
    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 study (...)
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  4. Steven Gross (2012). Davidson, First-Person Authority, and the Evidence for Semantics. In Gerhard Preyer (ed.), Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental. Oxford University Press.
    Donald Davidson aims to illuminate the concept of meaning by asking: What knowledge would suffice to put one in a position to understand the speech of another, and what evidence sufficiently distant from the concepts to be illuminated could in principle ground such knowledge? Davidson answers: knowledge of an appropriate truth-theory for the speaker’s language, grounded in what sentences the speaker holds true, or prefers true, in what circumstances. In support of this answer, he both outlines such a truth-theory for (...)
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  5. Steven Gross (2012). Davidson, First—Person Authority. In Gerhard Preyer (ed.), Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental. Oxford University Press. 228.
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  6. Jennifer Culbertson & Steven Gross (2011). Revisited Linguistic Intuitions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):639 - 656.
    Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. (Culbertson and Gross [2009]) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt ([2010]) replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists' claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that Devitt's focus (...)
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  7. Steven Gross & Jennifer Culbertson (2011). Revisited Linguistic Intuitions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):639-656.
    Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. ( Culbertson and Gross [2009] ) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt ([2010]) replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists’ claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that (...)
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  8. S. Gross (ed.) (2010). Herausforderung Herder—Herder as Challenge. Syncron.
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  9. Steven Gross, Knowledge of Meaning, Conscious and Unconscious. Meaning, Understanding and Knowledge (Vol 5: The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication).
    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 question. It distinguishes a variety of answers (...)
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  10. Steven Gross (2010). Origins of Human Communication - by Michael Tomasello. Mind and Language 25 (2):237-246.
  11. Jennifer Culbertson & Steven Gross (2009). Are Linguists Better Subjects? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):721-736.
    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 exposure to or knowledge of such tasks tend (...)
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  12. Steven Gross (2009). Review of Ray Jackendoff, Language, Consciousness, Culture. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 20095.
  13. Steven Gross (2009). Review of Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 118 (2):261-266.
    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 determine that they do. The (...)
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  14. Steven A. Gross (2009). What's in Hole? The Harvard Review of Philosophy 4 (1):76-80.
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  15. Steven Gross (2008). Sincerely Saying What You Don't Believe Again. Dialectica 62 (3):349-354.
    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.
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  16. Steven Gross (2007). Relating Conscious and Unconscious Semantic Knowledge. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):427-445.
    Normal mature human language users arguably possess two kinds of knowledge of meaning. On the one hand, they possess semantic knowledge that rationalizes their linguistic behavior. This knowledge can be characterized homophonically, can be self-ascribed without adverting to 3rd-person evidence, and is accessible to consciousness. On the other hand, there are empirical grounds for ascribing to them knowledge, or cognition, of a compositional semantic theory. This knowledge lacks the three qualities listed above. This paper explores the possible relations among these (...)
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  17. Steven Gross (2007). Reply to Jackendoff. The Linguistic Review 24 (4):423-429.
    In this note, I clarify the point of my paper “The Nature of Semantics: On Jackendoff’s Arguments” (NS) in light of Ray Jackendoff’s comments in his “Linguistics in Cognitive Science: The State of the Art.” Along the way, I amplify my remarks on unification.
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  18. Steven Gross (2007). Trivalent Semantics and the Vaguely Vague. Synthese 156 (1):97-117.
    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 (1) – that Tye’s argument (...)
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  19. Anne Bezuidenhout, Steven Gross, Francois Recanati, Zoltan Gendler Szabo, Charles Travis, Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore (2006). Multiple Review of Insensitive Semantics. Authors' Reply. Mind and Language 21 (1):1-73.
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  20. Steven Gross (2006). Can Empirical Theories of Semantic Competence Really Help Limn the Structure of Reality? Noûs 40 (1):43–81.
    There is a long tradition of drawing metaphysical conclusions from investigations into language. This paper concerns one contemporary variation on this theme: the alleged ontological significance of cognitivist truth-theoretic accounts of semantic competence. According to such accounts, human speakers’ linguistic behavior is in part empirically explained by their cognizing a truth-theory. Such a theory consists of a finite number of axioms assigning semantic values to lexical items, a finite number of axioms assigning semantic values to complex expressions on the basis (...)
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  21. Steven Gross (2006). Code Switching. In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier. 508--511.
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  22. Steven A. Gross (2006). Can One Sincerely Say What One Doesn't Believe? Mind and Language 21 (1):11-20.
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  23. Steven Gross (2005). Context-Sensitive Truth-Theoretic Accounts of Semantic Competence. Mind and Language 20 (1):68–102.
    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 this paper, I explore some of the motivations for and problems and consequences of dropping this (...)
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  24. Steven Gross (2005). The Biconditional Doctrine: Contra Kölbel on a “Dogma” of Davidsonian Semantics. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 62 (2):189 - 210.
    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 of such theories than Kölbel provides. A more developed conception is also (...)
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  25. Steven A. Gross (2005). Linguistic Understanding and Belief. Mind 114 (453):61-66.
    Comment on Dean Pettit, who replies in same issue.
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  26. Steven Gross (2004). Putnam, Context, and Ontology. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (4):507 - 553.
    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 have (...)
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  27. S. Gross (2002). Articulating Reasons: An Introduction to Inferentialism. Philosophical Review 111 (2):284-287.
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  28. Carol Myers-Scotton, J. Jake & S. Gross (2002). A Response to MacSwan (2005): Keeping the Matrix Language. Cognition 5:1.
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  29. S. Gross (2001). What's Within? Nativism Reconsidered. Philosophical Review 110 (1):94-97.
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  30. Steven Gross (2001). Book Review. Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong Jerry Fodor. [REVIEW] Mind 110 (438):469-475.
  31. Steven Gross (2001). Essays on Linguistic Context-Sensitivity and its Philosophical Significance. Routledge.
    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.
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  32. Steven Gross (2001). Review of What's Within? Nativism Reconsidered. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 110 (1):91-94.
    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 Fodor’s view of concepts is continuous with traditional nativism in (...)
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  33. Steven A. Gross (1996). Henry Allison. The Harvard Review of Philosophy 6 (1):31-45.
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  34. Steven A. Gross (1994). What's in a Hole? The Harvard Review of Philosophy 4 (1):76-80.
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  35. Steven Gross, Steven Gross.
    Should a theory of meaning state what sentences mean, and can a Davidsonian theory of meaning in particular do so? Max Ko¨lbel 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 of such theories than Ko¨lbel provides. A more developed conception is also (...)
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  36. Steven Gross, Review of Brandom's Articulating Reasons. [REVIEW]
    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).
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  37. Steven Gross, I. Introduction.
    There is a long tradition of drawing metaphysical conclusions from investigations into language. This paper concerns one contemporary variation on this theme: the alleged ontological significance of cognitivist truth-theoretic accounts of semantic competence.
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  38. Steven Gross, [Published in Mind 110, April 2001].
    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 Cognitive Science Series. Oxford University Press is also to (...)
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  39. Steven Gross, Review Origins of Human Communication.
    The claims are grounded in a wealth of fascinating data, particularly on primate and young child communication and social cognition, much produced by Tomasello’s own lab. But there is certainly no dearth of stimulating speculation. Tomasello’s story is rich and complex. In what follows, I focus on aspects of the three hypotheses listed above, offering some commentary as I go.
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  40. Steven Gross, The Nature of Semantics: On Jackendoff's Arguments.
    Jackendoff defends a mentalist approach to semantics that investigates con- ceptual structures in the mind/brain and their interfaces with other structures, including specifically linguistic structures responsible for syntactic and phono- logical competence. He contrasts this approach with one that seeks to charac- terize the intentional relations between expressions and objects in the world. The latter, he argues, cannot be reconciled with mentalism. He objects in par- ticular that intentionality cannot be naturalized and that the relevant notion of object is suspect. (...)
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