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Profile: Henry Jackman (York University)
  1. Henry Jackman, Temporal Externalism, Use and Meaning.
    Our ascriptions of content to utterances in the past attribute to them a level of determinacy that extends beyond what could supervene upon the usage up to the time of those utterances. If one accepts the truth of such ascriptions, one can either (1) argue that future use must be added to the supervenience base that determines meaning, or (2) argue that such cases show that meaning does not supervene upon use at all. The following will argue against authors such (...)
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  2. Henry Jackman, A Priori.
    Hilary Putnam has famously argued that we can know that we are not brains in a vat because the hypothesis that we are is self-refuting.1 While Putnam’s argument has generated interest primarily as a novel response to skepticism, his original use of the brain in a vat scenario was meant to illustrate a point about the “mind/world relationship.”2 In particular, he intended it to be part of an argument against the coherence of metaphysical realism, and thus to be part of (...)
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  3. Henry Jackman, By.
    Ascriptions of content are sensitive not only to our physical and social environment, but also to unforeseeable developments in the subsequent usage of our terms. The paper argues that the problems that may seem to come from endorsing such 'temporally sensitive' ascriptions either already follow from accepting the socially and historically sensitive ascriptions Burge and Kripke appeal to, or disappear when the view is developed in detail. If one accepts that one's society's past and current usage contributes to what one's (...)
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  4. Henry Jackman, Charity and the Normativity of Meaning.
    It has frequently been suggested that meaning is, in some important sense, normative. However, precisely what is particularly normative about it is often left without any satisfactory explanation, and the ‘normativity thesis’ has thus, justly, been called into question. That said, it will be argued here that the intuition that meaning is ‘normative’ is on the right track, even if many of the purported explanations for meaning’s normativity are not. In particular, rather that being particularly social, the normativity of meaning (...)
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  5. Henry Jackman, Davidson's Argument.
    Davidson argues that there can’t be type-type identities between metal and physical events because: (a) if there were such identities, then there would be lawlike statements relating mental and physical events, and (b) there can be no such lawlike statements. According to Davidson, there can be no lawlike connections between the mental and the physical because of the “disparate commitments”3 of the two realms. Davidson’s argument for this claim can be schematized very roughly as follows: 1. The application of mental (...)
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  6. Henry Jackman, Descriptive Atomism and Foundational Holism: Semantics Between the Old Testament and the New.
    While holism and atomism are often treated as mutually exclusive approaches to semantic theory, the apparent tension between the two usually results from running together distinct levels of semantic explanation. In particular, there is no reason why one can’t combine an atomistic conception of what the semantic values of our words are (one’s “descriptive semantics”), with a holistic explanation of why they have those values (one’s “foundational semantics”). Most objections to holism can be shown to apply only to holistic version (...)
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  7. Henry Jackman, Davidson, Skepticism and the Pragmatics of Justification.
    This paper is concerned with Davidson's argument that very general properties of the theory of interpretation make the skeptical claim that most of our beliefs could turn out to be false insupportable. Conceived as a 'straight' answer to the skeptic Davidson's argument is not especially convincing. In particular, Davidson's answer to the skeptic presupposes a framework that allows for a new and seemingly more radical skepticism according to which we might not even have beliefs at all. Nevertheless, there is a (...)
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  8. Henry Jackman, Erkenntnis. V. 44, No. 3: Pp. 317-26.
    Radical Interpretation and the Permutation Principle * Davidson has argued1 that there is no fact of the matter as to what any speaker's words refer to because, even holding truth conditions fixed, a radical interpreter will always be able to come up with many equally good interpretations of the interpretee’s language. This conclusion, which Davidson (following Quine) refers to as the "inscrutability of reference", has caused many to reject the radical interpretation methodology as fundamentally flawed.2 Nevertheless, it isn’t clear that (...)
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  9. Henry Jackman, Indeterminacy and Assertion.
    This paper will appeal a recent argument for the indeterminacy of translation to show not that meaning is indeterminate, but rather that assertion cannot be explained in terms of an independent grasp of the concept of truth. In particular, it will argue that if we try to explain assertion in terms of truth rather than vice versa, we ultimately will not be able to make sense of the difference between assertion and denial. This problem with such 'semantic' accounts of assertion (...)
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  10. Henry Jackman, James's Empirical Assumptions.
    Those sympathetic to the naturalistic side of James hope that his critique of ‘philosophical materialism’ can be separated from those elements of his thinking that are essential to his pragmatism. Such a separation is possible once we see that James’s critique of materialism grows out of his views about its incompatibility with the existence of objective values. Objective values (as James understands them) are incompatible, however, not with materialism in its most general form, but rather with materialism that understood the (...)
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  11. Henry Jackman, Prototypes, Belief Ascriptions, and Ambiguity.
    Many philosophers have suggested that belief predicates are ambiguous between a de dicto and a de re reading. However, the impression of ambiguity is a function of the narrow ranges of examples that philosophers focus on. When we consider our ascriptional practices as a whole, the suggestion that belief predicates are ambiguous is neither plausible nor needed to explain the de dicto/de re distinction. This paper will argue that understanding paradigmatic de dicto and de re ascriptions in terms of disavowals (...)
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  12. Henry Jackman, Pragmatism, Normativity and Naturalism.
    This paper argues that, according to James, we are committed to their being a kind of stable consensus, and we are committed to its being one that we can recognize ourselves in, but by underwriting such regulative ideals through a ‘will to believe’ rather than a transcendental argument, we make our commitment to their being an end of inquiry a practical rather than theoretical one. Objectivity is something we are committed to making, not something that we are committed to their (...)
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  13. Henry Jackman, Uncorrected Proof.
    While engaged in the analysis of philosophically central concepts, analytic philosophers have traditionally relied extensively on their own intuitions about when such concepts can be correctly applied. Intuitions have, however, come under increasingly critical scrutiny of late, and if they turned out not to be a reliable tool for the proper analysis of our concepts, then a radical reworking of analytic philosophy’s methodology would be in order. One influential line of criticism against the use of intuition argues that they only (...)
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  14. Henry Jackman, Belief Ascriptions, Prototypes and Ambiguity.
    A belief ascription such as “Oedipus believes that his mother is the queen of Thebes” can be understood in two ways, one in which it seems true, and another in which it seems false. It can seem true because the woman who was, in fact, Oedipus’ mother was believed by him to be the queen of Thebes. It can seem false because Oedipus himself would have sincerely denied that Jocasta could be correctly characterized as “Oedipus’s mother.” Belief ascriptions thus seem (...)
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  15. Henry Jackman, 1. Introduction.
    Logic is viewed by many as inseparable from rationality, and James’ ‘rejection of logic’ in A Pluralistic Universe has been viewed as the most flagrantly ‘irrational’ strand in his philosophy.2 Indeed, the late date of A Pluralistic Universe (the lectures were given in 1908) may tempt some to write it off as inessential to James’ larger philosophical vision. Nevertheless, James’ views on logic flow from currents that run deep in his philosophy, and these ‘naturalistic’ currents can be traced back to (...)
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  16. Henry Jackman, James, Intentionality and Analysis.
    James was always interested in the problem of how our thoughts come to be about the world. Nevertheless, if one takes James to be trying to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for a thought's being about an object, counterexamples to his account will be embarrassingly easy to find. James, however, was not aiming for this sort of analysis of intentionality. Rather than trying to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for every case of a thought's being about an object, James focused (...)
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  17. Henry Jackman, James's Naturalistic Account of Concepts and His 'Rejection of Logic'.
    Logic is viewed by many as inseparable from rationality, and James' 'rejection of logic' in A Pluralistic Universe may be the most flagrantly 'irrational' strand in his philosophy. Nevertheless, when viewed in the context of the psychological naturalism developed in The Principles of Psychology, James' 'rejection of logic' can seem both plausible and, crucially, rational. James' rejection of conceptual logic is deeply connected to his naturalism about concepts, and his belief that there is no reason to think that an intellect (...)
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  18. Henry Jackman, James, Royce, Representation and the Will to Believe.
    This paper discusses the relationship between the views of James and Royce on representation and their attempts to explain the "possibility of error," views which are, I argue, closer than many have thought. Appreciating where they do differ will point not only to an unstressed problem with Royces' argument for the Absolute but also to some unappreciated features of how James' account of truth ties in with his account of epistemic justification.
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  19. Henry Jackman, Wittgenstein & James's Stream of Thought.
    William James has been characterized as “the major whipping boy of the later Wittgenstein,” and the currency of this impression of the relation between James and Wittgenstein is understandable. Reading Wittgenstein and his commentators can leave one with the impression that James was a badly muddled “exponent of the tradition in the philosophy of mind that [Wittgenstein] was opposing.” There have been recent attempts to resist this trend, but even these tend to focus on the affinities between the two philosophers, (...)
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  20. Henry Jackman (2012). Prejudice, Humor and Alief. Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (2):29-33.
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  21. Henry Jackman (2009). Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation. Philosophical Studies 146 (2):159 - 177.
    While philosophers of language have traditionally relied upon their intuitions about cases when developing theories of reference, this methodology has recently been attacked on the grounds that intuitions about reference, far from being universal, show significant cultural variation, thus undermining their relevance for semantic theory. I’ll attempt to demonstrate that (1) such criticisms do not, in fact, undermine the traditional philosophical methodology, and (2) our underlying intuitions about the nature of reference may be more universal than the authors suppose.
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  22. Henry Jackman (2009). Transparency, Responsibility and Self-Knowledge. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):143-151.
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  23. Otasio Bueno, Henry Jackman, Jonathan M. Weinberg & Steven D. Hales (2008). Book Symposium: Steven D. Hales, Relativism and the Foundations of Philosophy (Mit Press, 2006). International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (2).
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  24. Henry Jackman (2008). Comments on Hales: Relativism and the Foundations of Philosophy. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (2):255 – 262.
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  25. Henry Jackman (2008). Review of Cheryl Misak (Ed.), New Pragmatists. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).
    Review of Cheryl Misak (ed.), New Pragmatists, Oxford University Press, 2007, 195pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199279975.
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  26. Henry Jackman (2008). William James. In C. J. Misak (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of American Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    A brief (10,000 word) introduction to James's philosophy with particular focus on the relation between James's naturalism and his account of various normative notions like rationality, goodness and truth.
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  27. Henry Jackman (2007). Incompatibility Arguments and Semantic Self Knowledge. Southwest Philosophy Review 23 (1):173-180.
    There has been much discussion recently of what has been labeled the.
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  28. Henry Jackman (2007). Minimalism, Psychological Reality, Meaning and Use. In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. Oup Oxford.
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  29. Henry Jackman (2006). Temporal Externalism, Constitutive Norms, and Theories of Vagueness. In Tomas Marvan (ed.), What Determines Content? The Internalism/Externalism Dispute. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    Our concept of truth is governed by two principles. The.
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  30. Henry Jackman (2005). Intuitions and Semantic Theory. Metaphilosophy 36 (3):363-380.
    While engaged in the analysis of topics such as the nature of knowledge, meaning, or justice, analytic philosophers have traditionally relied extensively on their own intuitions about when the relevant terms can, and can't, be correctly applied. Consequently, if intuitions about possible cases turned out not to be a reliable tool for the proper analysis of philosophically central concepts, then a radical reworking of philosophy's (or at least analytic philosophy's) methodology would seem to be in order. It is thus not (...)
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  31. Henry Jackman (2005). Justification, Ambiguity, and Belief. Southwest Philosophy Review 21 (2):183-186.
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  32. Henry Jackman (2005). Jamesian Pluralism and Moral Conflict. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 41 (1):123 - 128.
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  33. Henry Jackman (2005). Temporal Externalism and Our Ordinary Linguistic Practices. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):365-380.
    Temporal externalists argue that ascriptions of thought and utterance content can legitimately re?ect contingent conceptual developments that are only settled after the time of utterance. While the view has been criticized for failing to accord with our.
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  34. Henry Jackman (2005). Temporal Externalism, Deference, and Our Ordinary Linguistic Practice. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):365-380.
    Temporal externalists argue that ascriptions of thought and utterance content can legitimately reflect contingent conceptual developments that are only settled after the time of utterance. While the view has been criticized for failing to accord with our.
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  35. Henry Jackman, Holism, Context, and Content.
    This paper will argue that while traditional accounts of word meaning have problems accounting for how the referent of a non-ambiguous/non-indexical term can shift from context to context, a moderate version of semantic holism can do so by understanding the comparative weight of the extension-determining beliefs as itself something which can vary from context to context. The view will then be used to give an account of some of the more problematic cases in the literature associated with semantic externalism.
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  36. Henry Jackman (2004). Temporal Externalism and Epistemic Theories of Vagueness. Philosophical Studies 117 (1-2):79-94.
    'Epistemic' theories of vagueness notoriously claim that (despite the appearances to the contrary) all of our vague terms have sharp boundaries, it's just that we can't know what they are. Epistemic theories are typically criticized for failing to explain (1) the source of the ignorance postulated, and (2) how our terms could come to have such precise boundaries. Both of these objections will, however, be shown to rest on certain 'presentist' assumptions about the relation between use and meaning, and if (...)
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  37. Henry Jackman (2003). Charity, Self-Interpretation, and Belief. Journal of Philosophical Research 28:143-168.
    The purpose of this paper is to motivate and defend a recognizable version of N. L. Wilson's "Principle of Charity" Doing so will involve: (1) distinguishing it fromthe significantly different versions of the Principle familiar through the work of Quine and Davidson; (2) showing that it is compatible with, among other things, both semantic externalism and "simulation" accounts of interpretation; and (3) explaining how it follows from plausible constraints relating to the connection between interpretation and self-interpretation. Finally, it will be (...)
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  38. Henry Jackman (2003). Expression, Thought, and Language. Philosophia 31 (1-2):33-54.
    This paper discusses an "expressive constraint" on accounts of thought and language which requires that when a speaker expresses a belief by sincerely uttering a sentence, the utterance and the belief have the same content. It will be argued that this constraint should be viewed as expressing a conceptual connection between thought and language rather than a mere empirical generalization about the two. However, the most obvious accounts of the relation between thought and language compatible with the constraint (giving an (...)
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  39. Henry Jackman (2003). Foundationalism, Coherentism, and Rule-Following Skepticism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (1):25-41.
    Semantic holists view what one's terms mean as function of all of one's usage. Holists will thus be coherentists about semantic justification: showing that one's usage of a term is semantically justified involves showing how it coheres with the rest of one's usage. Semantic atomists, by contrast, understand semantic justification in a foundationalist fashion. Saul Kripke has, on Wittgenstein's behalf, famously argued for a type of skepticism about meaning and semantic justification. However, Kripke's argument has bite only if one understands (...)
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  40. Henry Jackman (2001). Thinking in the Ruins: Wittgenstein and Santayana on Contingency (Review). Journal of Speculative Philosophy 15 (3):251-253.
  41. Henry Jackman (2001). Ordinary Language, Conventionalism and a Priori Knowledge. Dialectica 55 (4):315–325.
    This paper examines popular 'conventionalist' explanations of why philosophers need not back up their claims about how 'we' use our words with empirical studies of actual usage. It argues that such explanations are incompatible with a number of currently popular and plausible assumptions about language's 'social' character. Alternate explanations of the philosopher's purported entitlement to make a priori claims about 'our' usage are then suggested. While these alternate explanations would, unlike the conventionalist ones, be compatible with the more social picture (...)
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  42. Henry Jackman (2001). Semantic Pragmatism and A Priori Knowledge. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):455 - 480.
    Hillary Putnam has famously argued that we can know that we are not brains in a vat because the hypothesis that we are is self-refuting. While Putnam's argument has generated interest primarily as a novel response to skepticism, his original use of the brain in a vat scenario was meant to illustrate a point about the "mind/world relationship." In particular, he intended it to be part of an argument against the coherence of metaphysical realism, and thus to be part of (...)
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  43. Henry Jackman (2001). Semantic Pragmatism and a Priori Knowledge: (Or 'Yes We Could All Be Brains in a Vat'). Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):455-480.
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  44. Henry Jackman (2000). Belief, Rationality, and Psychophysical Laws. In Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Volume 9: Philsophy of Mind. Philosophy Documentation Center. 47-54.
    This paper argues that Davidson's claim that the connection between belief and the "constitutive ideal of rationality" precludes the possibility of any type-type identities between mental and physical events relies on blurring the distinction between two ways of understanding this "constitutive ideal", and that no consistent understanding the constitutive ideal allows it to play the dialectical role Davidson intends for it.
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  45. Henry Jackman, Conventionalism, Objectivity, and Constitution.
    John Haugeland has recently attempted to provide a naturalistic account of intentionality that explains how we can (collectively) misidentify objects in the world in terms of the interplay of two types of 'recognitional' skill. Nevertheless, it is argued here that his inegalitarian conception of the two sorts of skill leaves him with a quasi-conventionalist account of our relation to the world which lacks the more robust sort of objectivity that a more holistic theory could provide.
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  46. Henry Jackman (2000). Deference and Self-Knowledge. Southwest Philosophy Review 16 (1):171-180.
    It has become increasingly popular to suggest that non-individualistic theories of content undermine our purported a priori knowledge of such contents because they entail that we lack the ability to distinguish our thoughts from alternative thoughts with different contents. However, problems relating to such knowledge of 'comparative' content tell just as much against individualism as non-individualism. Indeed, the problems presented by individualistic theories of content for self-knowledge are at least, if not more, serious than those presented by non-individualistic theories. Consequently, (...)
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  47. Henry Jackman (2000). Mind in a Physical World. Teaching Philosophy 23 (3):277-279.
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  48. Henry Jackman (2000). Philosophy in the Flesh. Teaching Philosophy 23 (4):398-401.
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  49. Henry Jackman (2000). Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Volume 9: Philsophy of Mind. Philosophy Documentation Center.
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  50. Henry Jackman (2000). The Nature of Consciousness. Teaching Philosophy 23 (1):100-102.
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