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Michael Devitt [110]M. Devitt [3]Matthew Devitt [1]
  1. Michael Devitt, Reply by Michael Devitt — '(2007) Dodging the Argument on the Subject Matter of Grammars: A Reponse to John Collins and Peter Slezak' - (16/8/2007). (PDF). [REVIEW]
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  2. Michael Devitt, What is Realism?
    ___ Realism is opposed to idealism, which holds that no such material objects or external realities exist apart from our knowledge or consciousness of them, the whole universe thus being dependent on the mind or in some sense mental.
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  3. Michael Devitt, A Response to Longworth and Slezak.
    My book, Ignorance of Language (2006a), challenges the received Chomskian “psychological conception” of grammars and proposes a “linguistic conception” according to which a grammar is a theory of a representational system. My response to Guy Longworth rejects his claim in “Ignorance of Linguistics” (2009) that there is “mutual determination” between linguistic and psychological facts with the result that both of these conceptions are true. Peter Slezak’s “Linguistic Explanation and ‘Psychological Reality’” (2009) is full of flagrant misrepresentations of my discussion of (...)
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  4. Michael Devitt, Deference and the Use Theory.
    My paper is a response to Paul Horwich’s Reflections on Meaning (2005) chapter 2, “A Use Theory of Meaning”, which develops a theory, “UTM”, presented in Meaning (1998), and responds to some criticisms, including mine in “Meaning and Use” (2002).
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  5. Michael Devitt, Meaning: Truth-Referential or Use?
    In Coming to Our Senses (1996), I argued for a certain truth-referential theory of meaning and against various other theories, both truth-referential and not.[1] In this paper I shall consider some subsequent developments. I shall start by summarizing my theory. I will then consider some of the latest from direct-reference theorists, particularly from Scott Soames. Finally, I will consider the use theory proposed by Paul Horwich.
     
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  6. Michael Devitt (2013). L5 Linguistic Intuitions Are Not “the Voice of Competence”. In Matthew C. Haug (ed.), Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge. 268.
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  7. Michael Devitt (2013). Semantic Epistemology. Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):229-233.
    Machery argues: (1) that “philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s—if anything, they are probably worse”; (2) that “intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference”. (1) lacks theoretical and empirical support. (2) cannot be right because usage provides the evidence that intuitions are reliable.Machery defiende que (1) “las intuiciones de los filósofos sobre la referencia no son más fiables que las de los legos (...)
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  8. Michael Devitt (2013). The “Linguistic Conception” of Grammars. Filozofia Nauki 2.
    The received Chomskian view is that a grammar is about the language faculty. In contrast to this “psychological conception” of linguistics I have argued in Ignorance of Language for a “linguistic conception”. This paper aims to strengthen the case for this conception. It argues that there is a linguistic reality external to the mind and that it is theoretically interesting to study it. If there is this reality, we have good reason to think that grammars are more or less true (...)
     
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  9. Michael Devitt (2012). 14 Linguistic Knowledge. Philosophical Inquiry 36 (1):314.
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  10. Michael Devitt (2012). Realismo moral: una perspectiva naturalista. Areté. Revista de Filosofía 16 (2):185-206.
    1. ¿Qué es el realismo moral? El artículo rechaza las respuestas habituales (Sayre-McCord, Railton) en términos de verdad y significado. Estas respuestas estándares están parcialmente motivadas por el fenómeno del no-cognitivismo. Ciertamente el no-cognitivismo es problemático para formular una respuesta abiertamente metafísica, no obstante es posible formular tal respuesta. 2. ¿Por qué creer en el realismo moral? Él es prima facie plausible, mientras que sus alternativas no lo son. Preocupación central: ¿cómo se puede lograr que el realismo moral coincida con (...)
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  11. Michael Devitt (2012). Semantic Epistemology: Response to Machery. Theoria 27 (2):229-233.
    Machery argues: (1) that “philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s —if anything, they are probably worse”; (2) that “intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference”. (1) lacks theoretical and empirical support. (2) cannot be right because usage provides the evidence that intuitions are reliable.
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  12. Michael Devitt (2012). Tracking Down Putnam on the Realism Issue. In Maria Baghramian (ed.), Reading Putnam. Routledge. 101.
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  13. Michael Devitt (2012). Whither Experimental Semantics? Theoria 27 (1):5-36.
    The main goal of the paper is to propose a methodology for the theory of reference in which experiments feature prominently. These experiments should primarily test linguistic usage rather than the folk’s referential intuitions. The proposed methodology urges the use of: (A) philosophers’ referential intuitions, both informally and, occasionally, scientifically gathered; (B) the corpus, both informally and scientifically gathered; (C) elicited production; and, occasionally, (D) folk’s referential intuitions. The most novel part of this is (C) and that is where most (...)
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  14. Michael Devitt (2011). Are Unconceived Alternatives a Problem for Scientific Realism? Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (2):285-293.
    Stanford, in Exceeding Our Grasp , presents a powerful version of the pessimistic meta-induction. He claims that theories typically have empirically inequivalent but nonetheless well-confirmed, serious alternatives which are unconceived. This claim should be uncontroversial. But it alone is no threat to scientific realism. The threat comes from Stanford’s further crucial claim, supported by historical examples, that a theory’s unconceived alternatives are “radically distinct” from it; there is no “continuity”. A standard realist reply to the meta-induction is that past failures (...)
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  15. Michael Devitt (2011). Experimental Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
    In their delightfully provocative paper, “Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style,” Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (2004),[1] make several striking claims about theories of reference. First, they claim: (I) Philosophical views about reference “are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations” (p. B1). This claim is prompted by their observations of the role of intuitions in Saul Kripke’s refutation of the descriptivist view of proper names in favor of a causal-historical view (1980). The (...)
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  16. Michael Devitt (2011). Linguistic Knowledge. In John Bengson & Marc A. Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press, Usa. 314.
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  17. Michael Devitt (2011). Methodology and the Nature of Knowing How. Journal of Philosophy 108 (4):205-218.
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  18. Michael Devitt (2011). Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms. In Michael O'Rourke, Joseph Keim Campbell & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints. Mit Press.
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  19. Michael Devitt (2010). ¸ Itedevitt:Pmf.
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  20. Michael Devitt (2010). Linguistic Intuitions Revisited. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):833 - 865.
    Why are linguistic intuitions good evidence for a grammar? In 'Intuitions in Linguistics' ([2006a]) and Ignorance of Language ([2006b]), I looked critically at some Chomskian answers and proposed another one. In this article, I respond to Fitzgerald's 'Linguistic Intuitions' ([2010]), a sweeping critique of my position, and to Culbertson and Gross' 'Are Linguists Better Subjects?' ([2009]), a criticism of one consequence of the position. In rejecting these criticisms, I emphasize that the issue over linguistic intuitions concerns only metalinguistic ones. And (...)
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  21. Michael Devitt (2010). Putting Metaphysics First: Essays on Metaphysics and Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    Introduction -- Metaphysics -- "Ostrich nominalism"' or "mirage realism"? -- Postscript to "Ostrich nominalism" or "mirage realism"? -- Aberrations of the realism debate -- Postscript to "aberrations of the realism debate" -- Underdetermination and commonsense realism -- Scientificrealism -- Postscript to "scientific realism" -- Incommensurability and the priority of metaphysics -- Postscript to "incommensurability and the priority of metaphysics" -- Global response dependency and worldmaking -- The metaphysics of nonfactualism -- The metaphysics of truth -- Moral realism : a naturalistic (...)
     
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  22. Michael Devitt (2010). Species Have (Partly) Intrinsic Essences. Philosophy of Science 77 (5):648-661.
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  23. Michael Devitt (2010). Underdetermination and Commonsense Realism. In ¸ Itedevitt:Pmf. 57--66.
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  24. Michael Devitt (2010). What "Intuitions" Are Linguistic Evidence? Erkenntnis 73 (2):251 - 264.
    In "Intuitions in Linguistics" (2006a) and Ignorance of Language (2006b) I took it to be Chomskian orthodoxy that a speaker's metalinguistic intuitions are provided by her linguistic competence. I argued against this view in favor of the alternative that the intuitions are empirical theory-laden central-processor responses to linguistic phenomena. The concern about these linguistic intuitions arises from their apparent role as evidence for a grammar. Mark Textor, "Devitt on the Epistemic Authority of Linguistic Intuitions" (2009), argues that I have picked (...)
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  25. Michael Devitt (2009). Buenos Aires Symposium On Definite Descriptions: Responses. Análisis Filosófico 29 (2):185-192.
    The present article contains a defense of the thesis that definite descriptions can have referential meanings that include a descriptive component from the following objections contained in the preceding articles: (i) the idea that the thesis at stake cannot adequately account for cases of misdescriptions (Díaz Legaspe), (ii) the claim that referential descriptions should be considered to be purely referential, with no descriptive meaning component whatsoever (Skerk), and (iii) the alleged viability of a pragmatic approach according to which definite descriptions (...)
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  26. Michael Devitt (2009). Buenos Aires Symposium on Rigidity: Responses. Análisis Filosófico 29 (2):239-251.
    In this article the following criticisms of the essentialist conception of general term rigidity presented in the previous papers are considered and responded: (i) the identity of designation conception of rigidity can provide us with a better alternative account for general term rigidity (Orlando), and (ii) the essentialist conception fails to meet the condition of extensional adequacy, both because it (allegedly) over -and undergeneralizes (Zerbudis). Against (i), it is claimed that the proposed definition of general term rigidity cannot feature in (...)
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  27. Michael Devitt (2009). On Determining What There Isn't. In Dominic Murphy & Michael A. Bishop (eds.), Stich and His Critics. Blackwell.
    In his engaging essay, “Deconstructing the Mind” (1996: 3-90), Stephen Stich raises some very good questions and gives some pretty good answers. My aim in this paper is to give some answers of my own, drawing on earlier work, and to compare these answers with Stich’s.
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  28. Michael Devitt (2009). Psychological Conception, Psychological Reality. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):35-44.
    My book, Ignorance of Language (2006a), challenges the received Chomskian “psychological conception” of grammars and proposes a “linguistic conception” according to which a grammar is a theory of a representational system. My response to Guy Longworth rejects his claim in “Ignorance of Linguistics” (2009) that there is “mutual determination” between linguistic and psychological facts with the result that both of these conceptions are true. Peter Slezak’s “Linguistic Explanation and ‘Psychological Reality’” (2009) is full of flagrant misrepresentations of my discussion of (...)
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  29. Michael Devitt (2008). A Response to Collins' Note on Conventions and Unvoiced Syntax. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):249-255.
    This paper takes up the two main points in John Collins “Note” (2008b), which responds to my paper, “Explanation and Reality in Linguistics” (2008). (1) Appealing to what grammars actually say, the paper argues that they primarily explain the nature of linguistic expressions. (2) The paper responds to Collins’ criticisms of my view that these expressions have many of their properties by convention.
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  30. Michael Devitt (2008). Explanation and Reality in Linguistics. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):203-231.
    This paper defends Some anti-Chomskian themes in Ignorance of Language (Devitt 2006a) from, the criticisms of John Collins (2007, 2008a) and Georges Rey (2008). It argues that there is a linguistic reality external to the mind and that it is theoretically interesting to study it. If there is this reality, we have good reason to think that grammars are more or less true of it. So, the truth of the grammar of a language entails that its rules govern linguistic reality, (...)
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  31. Michael Devitt (2008). Methodology in the Philosophy of Linguistics. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):671 – 684.
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  32. Michael Devitt (2008). Realism/Anti-Realism. In Stathis Psillos & Martin Curd (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science. Routledge. 224--235.
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  33. Michael Devitt (2008). Reference Borrowing. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):361-366.
    In “Reference Borrowing and the Role of Descriptions,” Dunja Jutronić criticizes my view of the borrowing of names and natural kind terms. These terms should be treated, she argues, in the same way as I have tentatively suggested kind terms like ‘sloop’ should be: borrowers need to associate a categorial description that is true of the referent. I am not persuaded. Still, perhaps the suggestion should be extended to these terms anyway. I propose a way to test whether it should (...)
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  34. Michael Devitt (2008). Resurrecting Biological Essentialism. Philosophy of Science 75 (3):344-382.
    The article defends the doctrine that Linnaean taxa, including species, have essences that are, at least partly, underlying intrinsic, mostly genetic, properties. The consensus among philosophers of biology is that such essentialism is deeply wrong, indeed incompatible with Darwinism. I argue that biological generalizations about the morphology, physiology, and behavior of species require structural explanations that must advert to these essential properties. The objection that, according to current “species concepts,” species are relational is rejected. These concepts are primarily concerned with (...)
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  35. Michael Devitt (2008). Biological Realisms. In Heather Dyke (ed.), From Truth to Reality: New Essays in Logic and Metaphysics.
    Realism issues tend to be confusing because of the bewildering number of “definitions” of what realism is. A large part of the problem, I have argued in Realism and Truth (1997), is that doctrines that should be metaphysical have become entangled with epistemological and semantic doctrines. The various realism issues in biology do not seem to have that problem but there is still some unclarity about the nature of those issues, as David Hull notes. The most active of the issues (...)
     
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  36. Georges Rey, Alex Barber, John Collins, Michael Devitt & Dunja Jutronic (2008). Philosophy of Linguistics. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (23).
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  37. Michael Devitt (2007). Dodging the Argument on the Subject Matter of Grammars: A Response to John Collins and Peter Slezak. .
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  38. Michael Devitt, No Place for the a Priori.
    Why believe in the a priori? The answer is clear: there are many examples, drawn from mathematics, logic and philosophy, of knowledge that does not seem to be empirical. It does not seem possible that this knowledge could be justified or revised “by experience.” It must be justified in some other way, justified a priori.
     
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  39. Michael Devitt (2007). Referential Descriptions: A Note on Bach. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (2):49-54.
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  40. Michael Devitt (2007). Referential Descriptions and Conversational Implicatures. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (2):7-32.
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  41. Michael Devitt (2006). Defending Ignorance of Language. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):571-606.
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  42. Michael Devitt (2006). Intuitions in Linguistics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):481-513.
    Linguists take the intuitive judgments of speakers to be good evidence for a grammar. Why? The Chomskian answer is that they are derived by a rational process from a representation of linguistic rules in the language faculty. The paper takes a different view. It argues for a naturalistic and non-Cartesian view of intuitions in general. They are empirical central-processor responses to phenomena differing from other such responses only in being immediate and fairly unreflective. Applying this to linguistic intuitions yields an (...)
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  43. Michael Devitt (2006). Ignorance of Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    The Chomskian revolution in linguistics gave rise to a new orthodoxy about mind and language. Michael Devitt throws down a provocative challenge to that orthodoxy. What is linguistics about? What role should linguistic intuitions play in constructing grammars? What is innate about language? Is there a 'language faculty'? These questions are crucial to our developing understanding of ourselves; Michael Devitt offers refreshingly original answers. He argues that linguistics is about linguistic reality and is not part of psychology; that linguistic rules (...)
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  44. Michael Devitt (2006). Responses to the Rijeka Papers. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):97-112.
    This paper is a response to criticisms that were, with one exception, delivered at a conference at the University of Rijeka in May 2003. (1) “The shocking idea” that the meanings of sorne words, hence the natures of some concepts, are causal modes of referring that are partly external to the head is defended frorn the criticisms of Nenad Miščević. (2) The causal theory of reference borrowing is defended from the criticisms of Dunja Jutronić, including those due to Thomas Blackburn (...)
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  45. Michael Devitt (2006). The Pessimistic Meta-Induction. A Response to Jacob Busch. SATS 7 (2):127-135.
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  46. Michael Devitt (2006). Worldmaking Made Hard. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):3-25.
    Against arealist background, the paper starts by demonstrating the horror of the very popular doctrine, “Worldmaking”, according to which a known world is partly constructed by our imposition of concepts. The rest of the paper aims to make worldmaking hard. (i) It rejects the usual episternological and semantic paths to Worldmaking arguing that they use the wrong methodology and proceed in the wrong direction. (ii) It considers the relation between Worldmaking and the response-dependency theory of concepts. Philip Pettit has proposed (...)
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  47. Michael Devitt & Richard Hanley (eds.) (2006). The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Language. Blackwell Pub..
    The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Language is a collection of twenty new essays in a cutting-edge and wide-ranging field. Surveys central issues in contemporary philosophy of language while examining foundational topics Provides pedagogical tools such as abstracts and suggestions for further readings Topics addressed include the nature of meaning, speech acts and pragmatics, figurative language, and naturalistic theories of reference.
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  48. Michael Devitt (2005). Rigid Application. Philosophical Studies 125 (2):139--165.
    Kripke defines a rigid designator as one that designates the same object in every possible world in which that object exists. He argues that proper names are rigid. So also, he claims, are various natural kind terms. But we wonder how they could be. These terms are general and it is not obvious that they designate at all. It has been proposed that these kind terms rigidly designate abstract objects. This proposal has been criticized because all terms then seem to (...)
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  49. Michael Devitt (2005). Scientific Realism. In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
     
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  50. Michael Devitt (2005). There is No a Priori. In Steup Matthias & Sosa Ernest (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. 105--115.
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