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Profile: Christopher Gauker (University of Cincinnati)
  1. Christopher Gauker, A Second Course in Logic.
    This is a free book, 165 pages. It is for anyone who has had a solid introductory logic course and wants more. Topics covered include soundness and completeness for first-order logic, Tarski's theorem on the undefinability of truth, Gödel's incompleteness theorems, the undecidability of first-order logic, a smattering of second-order logic, and modal logic (both propositional and quantificational). I wrote it for use in my own course, because I thought I could present the most important results and concepts more clearly (...)
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  2. Christopher Gauker, Comments on Dynamic Semantics.
    This is the text of my comments on the project of dynamic semantics for the session on that topic at the Central Division APA meeting on April 21, 2007. The other speakers were Jeroen Groenendijk, Frank Veltman and Thony Gillies. I question the philosophical basis for dynamic semantics. My doubts have to do with the nature of information states and the norms of semantics. I also question the data that inspire the project. In particular, I question the data concerning presupposition (...)
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  3. Christopher Gauker, Kripke's Theory of Truth.
    This is not a research paper. It is just a handout that I prepared for a course some years ago. It is a presentation of Kripke's theory of truth that I intend to be understandable even to people who have had only a first course in logic. Although elementary, it is completely precise. All the terms are defined and all the proofs (except one trivial induction) are given in detail. I am putting this on the web because I think there (...)
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  4. Christopher Gauker, The Illusion of Semantic Reference.
    A lot of us have given up on the idea that there will be a naturalistic account of the relation of semantic reference and so have resolved to formulate our theories of semantics and communication without appeal to semantic reference. Still, there is a resilient intuition to the effect that I know the extensions of the terms of my language. This paper explicates that intuition without yielding to it. The key idea is to give a “skeptical” account of what it (...)
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  5. Christopher Gauker (forthcoming). Inexplicit Thoughts. In Laurence Goldstein (ed.), Brevity. Oxford University Press.
    It is often assumed that, though we may speak in sentences that express propositions only inexplicitly, our thoughts must express their propositional contents explicitly. This paper argues that, on the contrary, thoughts too may be inexplicit. Inexplicit thoughts may effectively drive behavior inasmuch as they rest on a foundation of imagistic cognition. The paper also sketches an approach to semantic theory that accommodates inexplicitness in mental representations as well as in spoken sentences.
     
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  6. Christopher Gauker (2013). Logical Nihilism in Contemporary French Philosophy. Teorema 32 (2):65-79.
    Recanati takes for granted the conveyance conception of linguistic communica- tion, although it is not very clear exactly where he lies on the spectrum of possible variations. Even if we disavow all such conceptions of linguistic communication, there will be a place for semantic theory in articulating normative concepts such as logical consistency and logical validity. An approach to semantics focused on such normative concepts is illustrated using the example of ““It’’s raining””. It is argued that Recanati’’s conception of semantics (...)
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  7. Christopher Gauker (2013). Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology, Edited by Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack, and Sarah R. Beck. Mind 122 (486):fzt050.
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  8. Christopher Gauker (2012). Conversational Impliciture. Noûs 46 (1).
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  9. Christopher Gauker (2012). Perception Without Propositions. Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):19-50.
    In recent years, many philosophers have supposed that perceptual representations have propositional content. A prominent rationale for this supposition is the assumption that perceptions may justify beliefs, but this rationale can be doubted. This rationale may be doubted on the grounds that there do not seem to be any viable characterizations of the belief-justifying propositional contents of perceptions. An alternative is to model perceptual representations as marks in a perceptual similarity space. A mapping can be defined between points in perceptual (...)
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  10. Christopher Gauker (2012). Semantics and Pragmatics. In Gillian Russell & Delia Graff Fara (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Routledge.
    Semantics deals with the literal meaning of sentences. Pragmatics deals with what speakers mean by their utterances of sentences over and above what those sentences literally mean. However, it is not always clear where to draw the line. Natural languages contain many expressions that may be thought of both as contributing to literal meaning and as devices by which speakers signal what they mean. After characterizing the aims of semantics and pragmatics, this chapter will set out the issues concerning such (...)
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  11. Christopher Gauker (2012). What Do Your Senses Says? On Burge's Theory of Perception. Grazer Philosophische Studien 85 (1):311-323.
    This is a critical review of Tyler Burge's book, Origins of Objectivity. Criticism focuses on Burge's claim that perceptions represent particulars as belonging to kinds.
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  12. Christopher Gauker (2012). What Tipper is Ready For: A Semantics for Incomplete Predicates. Noûs 46 (1):61-85.
    This paper presents a precise semantics for incomplete predicates such as “ready”. Incomplete predicates have distinctive logical properties that a semantic theory needs to accommodate. For instance, “Tipper is ready” logically implies “Tipper is ready for something”, but “Tipper is ready for something” does not imply “Tipper is ready”. It is shown that several approaches to the semantics of incomplete predicates fail to accommodate these logical properties. The account offered here defines contexts as structures containing an element called a proposition (...)
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  13. Christopher Gauker (2011). Concepts Are Not Icons. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (3):127.
    Carey speculates that the representations of core cognition are entirely iconic. However this idea is undercut by her contention that core cognition includes concepts such as object and agency, which are employed in thought as predicates. If Carey had taken on board her claim that core cognition is iconic, very different hypotheses might have come into view.
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  14. Christopher Gauker (2011). Words and Images: An Essay on the Origin of Ideas. Oxford University Press.
    At least since Locke, philosophers and psychologists have usually held that concepts arise out of sensory perceptions, thoughts are built from concepts, and language enables speakers to convey their thoughts to hearers. Christopher Gauker holds that this tradition is mistaken about both concepts and language. The mind cannot abstract the building blocks of thoughts from perceptual representations. More generally, we have no account of the origin of concepts that grants them the requisite independence from language. Gauker's alternative is to show (...)
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  15. Christopher Gauker (2010). Contexts in Formal Semantics. Philosophy Compass 5 (7):568-578.
    Recent philosophical literature has debated the question of how much context-relativity needs to be countenanced in precise semantic theories for natural languages and has displayed different conceptions of the way in which it might be accommodated. This article presents reasons to think that context-relativity is a phenomenon that semantic theory must accommodate and identifies some of the issues concerning how it ought to be accommodated.
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  16. Christopher Gauker (2010). Global Domains Versus Hidden Indexicals. Journal of Semantics 27 (2):243-270.
    Jason Stanley has argued that in order to obtain the desired readings of certain sentences, such as “In most of John’s classes, he fails exactly three Frenchmen”, we must suppose that each common noun is associated with a hidden indexical that may be either bound by a higher quantifier phrase or interpreted by the context. This paper shows that the desired readings can be obtained as well by interpreting nouns as expressing relations and without supposing that nouns are associated with (...)
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  17. Christopher Gauker (2010). Indirect Discourse, Relativism, and Contexts That Point to Other Contexts. In François Recanati, Isidora Stojanovic & Neftali Villanueva (eds.), Context-dependence, Perspective and Relativity in Language and Thought. Mouton de Gruyter. 6--283.
    Some expressions, such as “all” and “might”, must be interpreted differently, relative to a single context, when embedded under “says that” than when unembedded. Egan, Hawthorne and Weatherson have appealed to that fact to argue that utterance-truth is relative to point of evaluation. This paper shows that the phenomena do not warrant this relativistic response. Instead, contexts may be defined as entities that assign other contexts to contextually relevant people, and context-relative truth conditions for indirect discourse sentences can be satisfactorily (...)
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  18. Matthew van Cleave & Christopher Gauker (2010). Linguistic Practice and False-Belief Tasks. Mind and Language 25 (3):298-328.
    Jill de Villiers has argued that children's mastery of sentential complements plays a crucial role in enabling them to succeed at false-belief tasks. Josef Perner has disputed that and has argued that mastery of false-belief tasks requires an understanding of the multiplicity of perspectives. This paper attempts to resolve the debate by explicating attributions of desires and beliefs as extensions of the linguistic practices of making commands and assertions, respectively. In terms of these linguistic practices one can explain why desire-talk (...)
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  19. Christopher Gauker (2009). Review of Jeremy Wanderer, Robert Brandom. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (3).
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  20. Christopher Gauker (2008). Against Accommodation: Heim, van der Sandt, and the Presupposition Projection Problem. Noûs 42 (1):171 - 205.
    This paper criticizes the dominant approaches to presupposition projection and proposes an alternative. Both the update semantics of Heim and the discourse representation theory of van der Sandt have problems in explicating the presuppositions of disjunctions. Moreover, Heim's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that founders on the problem of informative presuppositions, and van der Sandt's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that generates over-interpretations of utterances. The present approach borrows Karttunen's idea that instead of associating (...)
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  21. Christopher Gauker (2008). Zero Tolerance for Pragmatics. Synthese 165 (3):359–371.
    The proposition expressed by a sentence is relative to a context. But what determines the content of the context? Many theorists would include among these determinants aspects of the speaker’s intention in speaking. My thesis is that, on the contrary, the determinants of the context never include the speaker’s intention. My argument for this thesis turns on a consideration of the role that the concept of proposition expressed in context is supposed to play in a theory of linguistic communication. To (...)
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  22. Christopher Gauker (2007). A Critique of the Similarity Space Theory of Concepts. Mind and Language 22 (4):317–345.
    A similarity space is a hyperspace in which the dimensions represent various dimensions on which objects may differ. The similarity space theory of concepts is the thesis that concepts are regions of similarity spaces that are somehow realized in the brain. Proponents of such a theory of concepts include Paul Churchland and Peter Gärdenfors. This paper argues that the similarity space theory of concepts is mistaken because regions of similarity spaces cannot serve as the components of judgments. It emerges that (...)
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  23. Christopher Gauker (2007). On the Alleged Priority of Thought Over Language. In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), John Searle's Philosophy of Language: Force, Meaning, and Mind. Cambridge University Press. 125.
    It is obvious that there are kinds of cognition -- mental problem solving -- that do not require spoken language. But it should not be obvious that peculiarly conceptual thought is independent of spoken language. This paper is a critical survey of arguments concluding that conceptual thought must be independent of language. The special emphasis is on arguments that John Searle has put forward, but others are considered as well. These include the claim that only the intentionality of thought is (...)
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  24. Christopher Gauker (2007). The Circle of Deference Proves the Normativity of Semantics. Rivista di Estetica 34 (34):181-198.
    The question whether semantics is a normative discipline can be formulated as a question about the meaning of the word “means”. If I assert, “The word ‘gatto’ in Italian means cat,” what have I done? The naturalist about meaning claims that I have asserted that a certain natural relation obtains between Italian speakers’ tokens of “gatto” and cats. Or at least, I have asserted something about the way Italian speakers use the word “gatto”, which way presumably has something to do (...)
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  25. Christopher Gauker (2006). Review: Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. [REVIEW] Mind 115 (458):399-403.
  26. Christopher Gauker (2006). Against Stepping Back: A Critique of Contextualist Approaches to the Semantic Paradoxes. [REVIEW] Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (4):393 - 422.
    A number of philosophers have argued that the key to understanding the semantic paradoxes is to recognize that truth is essentially relative to context. All of these philosophers have been motivated by the idea that once a liar sentence has been uttered we can 'step back' and, from the point of view of a different context, judge that the liar sentence is true. This paper argues that this 'stepping back' idea is a mistake that results from failing to relativize truth (...)
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  27. Christopher Gauker (2006). Scientific Realism as an Issue in Semantics. In Patrick Greenough & Michael Lynch (eds.), Truth and Realism: New Debates. Oxford University Press. 125.
  28. Christopher Gauker (2005). Conditionals in Context. MIT.
    "If you turn left at the next corner, you will see a blue house at the end of the street." That sentence -- a conditional -- might be true even though it is possible that you will not see a blue house at the end of the street when you turn left at the next corner. A moving van may block your view; the house may have been painted pink; a crow might swoop down and peck out your eyes. Still, (...)
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  29. Christopher Gauker (2005). On the Evidence for Prelinguistic Concepts. Theoria-Revista De Teoria Historia y Fundamentos De La Ciencia 20 (3):287-297.
    Language acquisition is often said to be a process of mapping words into pre-existing concepts. Some researchers regard this theory as an immediate corollary of the assumption that all problem-solving involves the application of concepts. But in light of basic philosophical objections to the theory of language acquisition, that kind of rationale cannot be very persuasive. To have a reason to accept the theory of language acquisition despite the philosophical objections, we ought to have experimental evidence for the existence of (...)
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  30. Christopher Gauker (2005). Semantics for Deflationists. In JC Beall & Bradley Armour-Garb (eds.), Deflationism and Paradox. Oxford University Press.
    This paper spells out the positive theory sketched at the end of "Against Stepping Back".): According to deflationists, [p] is true is in some sense equivalent to p. The problem that the semantic paradoxes pose for the deflationist is to explicate this equivalence without relying on a semantics grounded in the sort of real reference relations that a deflationist thinks do not exist. More generally, the deflationist is challenged to give an account of logical validity that does not force us (...)
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  31. Christopher Gauker (2005). The Belief-Desire Law. Facta Philosophica 7 (2):121-144.
    Many philosophers hold that for various reasons there must be psychological laws governing beliefs and desires. One of the few serious examples that they offer is the _belief-desire law_, which states, roughly, that _ceteris paribus_ people do what they believe will satisfy their desires. This paper argues that, in fact, there is no such law. In particular, decision theory does not support the contention that there is such a law.
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  32. Axel Dietrich, Christopher Gauker, Noel Hendrickson, Jon Kass, Kenneth Livingston, Dan Lloyd, Peter Mandik, Katie McGovern, Thomas Polger & Teed Rockwell (2003). In Addition to Editorial Board Members, the Editors of Brain and Mind Often Call on External Reviewers to Referee Submitted Manuscripts. For Volume 4, the Following Philosophers and Scientists Lent Their Expertise and Time to Referee Papers: Anthony Chemero. Brain and Mind 4 (399).
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  33. Christopher Gauker (2003). Attitudes Without Psychology. Facta Philosophica 5 (2):239-56.
    Many philosophers hold that beliefs and desires are theoretical entities postulated for the sake of predicting and explaining people's behaviors. This paper offers a very different perspective on the nature of beliefs and desires. According to this, the first step is to understand the nature of assertion and command. Then, to understand the nature of belief and desire, what one must do is extend one's understanding of assertion and commandto assertions and commands on behalf of others; for to attribute a (...)
     
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  34. Christopher Gauker (2003). Review of Andrea Iacona, Propositions. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (9).
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  35. Christopher Gauker (2003). Social Externalism and Linguistic Communication. In Maria J. Frapolli & E. Romero (eds.), Meaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and Mind: Essays on Tyler Burge. CSLI.
    According to the expressive theory of communication, the primary function of language is to enable speakers to convey the content of their thoughts to hearers. According to Tyler Burge's social externalism, the content of a person's thought is relative to the way words are used in his or her surrounding linguistic community. This paper argues that Burge's social externalism refutes the expressive theory of communication.
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  36. Christopher Gauker (2003). Truth, Propositions and Context. In. In A. Rojszczak, J. Cachro & G. Kurczewski (eds.), Philosophical Dimensions of Logic and Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 277--287.
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  37. Christopher Gauker (2003). Words Without Meaning. MIT Press.
    A critique of, and alternative to, the received view of linguistic communication.
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  38. Christopher Gauker (2002). No Conceptual Thought Without Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):687-687.
    Carruthers labels as “too strong” the thesis that language is necessary for all conceptual thought. Languageless creatures certainly do think, but when we get clear about what is meant by “conceptual thought,” it appears doubtful that conceptual thought is possible without language.
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  39. Christopher Gauker (2001). Situated Inference Versus Conversational Implicature. Noûs 35 (2):163–189.
    As Grice defined it, a speaker conversationally implicates that p only if the speaker expects the hearer to recognize that the speaker thinks that p. This paper argues that in the sorts of cases that Grice took as paradigmatic examples of conversational implicature there is in fact no need for the hearer to consider what the speaker might thus have in mind. Instead, the hearer might simply make an inference from what the speaker literally says and the situation in which (...)
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  40. Christopher Gauker (2001). T-Schema Deflationism Versus Gödel’s First Incompleteness Theorem. Analysis 61 (270):129–136.
    I define T-schema deflationism as the thesis that a theory of truth for our language can simply take the form of certain instances of Tarski's schema (T). I show that any effective enumeration of these instances will yield as a dividend an effective enumeration of all truths of our language. But that contradicts Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem. So the instances of (T) constituting the T-Schema deflationist's theory of truth are not effectively enumerable, which casts doubt on the idea that the (...)
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  41. Christopher Gauker (1999). Deflationism and Logic. Facta Philosophica (1):167-199.
    Inference rule deflationism is the thesis that the nature of truth can be explained in terms of the inference rules governing the word "true". This paper argues, first, that, in light of the semantic paradoxes, the inference rule deflationist must reject some of the classical rules of inference. It is argued, secondly, that inference rule deflationism is incompatible with model theoretic approaches to the definition of logical validity. Here the argument focuses on the question whether the number of primitive referring (...)
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  42. Christopher Gauker, Language and Thought. A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind.
    [Written in 1999. Still relevant, but references are not up-to-date.] If one asks about the relation between thought and language, people expect the issue to concern such matters as whether we think in language, whether creatures without language can "think", and the way language shapes our concepts. In my opinion, there is a much deeper question, which concerns the nature of linguistic communication. Philosophers and linguists standardly conceive of language as basically a means by which speakers convey the content of (...)
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  43. Christopher Gauker (1998). Are There Wordlike Concepts Too? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):70-71.
    Millikan proposes that there are mapping functions through which spoken sentences represent reality. Such mappings seem to depend on thoughts that words express and on concepts as components of such thoughts, but such concepts would conflict with Millikan's other claims about concepts and language.
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  44. Christopher Gauker (1998). Building Block Dilemmas. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):26-27.
    Feature-based theories of concept formation face two dilemmas. First, for many natural concepts, it is hard to see how the concepts of the features could be developmentally more basic. Second, concept formation must be guided by “abstraction heuristics,” but these can be neither universal principles of rational thought nor natural conventions.
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  45. Christopher Gauker (1998). Intelligibility in Semantics: Reply to Van Deemter. Mind 107 (426):447-450.
  46. Christopher Gauker (1998). What is a Context of Utterance? Philosophical Studies 91 (2):149-172.
    For many purposes in pragmatics one needs to appeal to a context of utterance conceived as a set of sentences or propositions. The context of utterance in this sense is often defined as the set of assumptions that the speaker supposes he or she shares with the hearer. I argue by stages that this is a mistake. First, if contexts must be defined in terms of shared assumptions, then it would be preferable to define the context as the set of (...)
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  47. Christopher Gauker (1997). Domain of Discourse. Mind 106 (421):1-32.
    The proposition expressed by an utterance of a quantified sentence depends on a domain of discourse somehow determined by the context. How does the context of utterance determine the content of the domain of discourse? Many philosophers would approach this question from the point of view of an expressive theory of linguistic communication, according to which the primary function of language is to enable speakers to convey the propositional contents of their thoughts to hearers. This paper argues that (...)
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  48. Christopher Gauker (1997). Universal Instantiation: A Study of the Role of Context in Logic. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 46 (2):185-214.
    The rule of universal instantiation appears to be subject to counterexamples, although the rule of existential generalization is not subject to the same doubts. This paper is a survey of ways of responding to this problem, both conservative and revisionist. The conclusion drawn is that logical validity should be defined in terms of assertibility in a context rather than in terms of truth on an interpretation. Contexts are here defined, not in terms of the attitudes of the interlocutors, but in (...)
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  49. Christopher Gauker (1995). A New Skeptical Solution. Acta Analytica 113 (14):113-129.
    Kripke's puzzle about rule-following is a form of the traditional problem of the nature of linguistic meaning. A skeptical solution explains not what meaning is but the role that talk of meaning plays in the linguistic community. Contrary to what some have claimed, the skeptical approach is not self-refuting. However, Kripke's own skeptical solution is inadequate. He has not adequately explained the conditions under which we are justified in attributing meanings or the utility of the practice of attributing meanings. An (...)
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