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John Collins [83]John J. Collins [16]John M. Collins [13]John K. Collins [3]
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Profile: John Collins (Columbia University)
Profile: John Collins (University of East Anglia)
Profile: John Collins (East Carolina University)
  1.  820 DLs
    John M. Collins (2003). Cowie on the Poverty of Stimulus. Synthese 136 (2):159-190.
    My paper defends the use of the poverty of stimulus argument (POSA) for linguistic nativism against Cowie's (1999) counter-claim that it leaves empiricism untouched. I first present the linguistic POSA as arising from a reflection on the generality of the child's initial state in comparison with the specific complexity of its final state. I then show that Cowie misconstrues the POSA as a direct argument about the character of the pld. In this light, I first argue that the data Cowie (...)
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  2.  232 DLs
    John Collins, Counterfactuals, Causation, and Preemption.
    A counterfactual is a conditional statement in the subjunctive mood. For example: If Suzy hadn’t thrown the rock, then the bottle wouldn’t have shattered. The philosophical importance of counterfactuals stems from the fact that they seem to be closely connected to the concept of causation. Thus it seems that the truth of the above conditional is just what is required for Suzy’s throw to count as a cause of the bottle’s shattering. If philosophers were reluctant to exploit this idea prior (...)
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  3.  214 DLs
    John Collins, Newcomb's Problem.
    Newcomb’s problem is a decision puzzle whose difficulty and interest stem from the fact that the possible outcomes are probabilistically dependent on, yet causally independent of, the agent’s options. The problem is named for its inventor, the physicist William Newcomb, but first appeared in print in a 1969 paper by Robert Nozick [12]. Closely related to, though less well-known than, the Prisoners’ Dilemma, it has been the subject of intense debate in the philosophical literature. After three decades, the issues remain (...)
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  4.  197 DLs
    John Bigelow, John Collins & Robert Pargetter (1993). The Big Bad Bug: What Are the Humean's Chances? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):443-462.
    Humean supervenience is the doctrine that there are no necessary connections in the world. David Lewis identifies one big bad bug to the programme of providing Humean analyses for apparently non-Humean features of the world. The bug is chance. We put the bug under the microscope, and conclude that chance is no special problem for the Humean.
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  5.  175 DLs
    John Collins, Ned Hall & L. A. Paul (2004). Counterfactuals and Causation: History, Problems, and Prospects. In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. The MIT Press 1--57.
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  6.  153 DLs
    John M. Collins (2011). Why the Debate Between Originalists and Evolutionists Rests on a Semantic Mistake. Law and Philosophy 30 (6):645-684.
  7.  148 DLs
    John M. Collins (2008). Content Externalism and Brute Logical Error. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):pp. 549-574.
    Most content externalists concede that even if externalism is compatible with the thesis that one has authoritative self-knowledge of thought contents, it is incompatible with the stronger claim that one is always able to tell by introspection whether two of one’s thought tokens have the same, or different, content. If one lacks such authoritative discriminative self-knowledge of thought contents, it would seem that brute logical error – non-culpable logical error – is possible. Some philosophers, such as Paul Boghossian, have argued (...)
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  8.  146 DLs
    John Collins, Supposition and Choice: Why 'Causal Decision Theory' is a Misnomer.
    This paper has as its topic two recent philosophical disputes. One of these disputes is internal to the project known as decision theory, and while by now familiar to many, may well seem to be of pressing concern only to specialists. It has been carried on over the last twenty years or so, but by now the two opposing camps are pretty well entrenched in their respective positions, and the situation appears to many observers (as well as to some of (...)
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  9.  119 DLs
    Elletta Sangrey Callahan & John W. Collins (1992). Employee Attitudes Toward Whistleblowing: Management and Public Policy Implications. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 11 (12):939 - 948.
    Managers of organizations should be aware of the attitudes of employees concerning whistleblowing. Employee views should affect how employers choose to respond to whistleblowers through the evolving law of wrongful discharge.This article reports on a survey of employee attitudes toward the legal protection of whistleblowers and presents an analysis of the results of that survey.
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  10.  104 DLs
    John Collins (2009). Methodology, Not Metaphysics: Against Semantic Externalism. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):53-69.
    Borg (2009) surveys and rejects a number of arguments in favour of semantic internalism. This paper, in turn, surveys and rejects all of Borg's anti-internalist arguments. My chief moral is that, properly conceived, semantic internalism is a methodological doctrine that takes its lead from current practice in linguistics. The unifying theme of internalist arguments, therefore, is that linguistics neither targets nor presupposes externalia. To the extent that this claim is correct, we should be internalists about linguistic phenomena, including semantics.
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  11.  103 DLs
    John Collins, How We Can Agree to Disagree.
    Knowledge entails the truth of the proposition known; that which is merely believed may be false. If I have beliefs about your beliefs, then I may believe that some of your beliefs are false. I may believe, for example, that you mistakenly believe that it is now raining outside. This is a coherent belief for me, though not for you. You cannot coherently believe that you believe falsely that it is raining, and this despite the fact that your having that (...)
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  12.  96 DLs
    John Collins (1995). Desire-as-Belief Implies Opinionation or Indifference. Analysis 55 (1):2 - 5.
    Rationalizations of deliberation often make reference to two kinds of mental state, which we call belief and desire. It is worth asking whether these kinds are necessarily distinct, or whether it might be possible to construe desire as belief of a certain sort — belief, say, about what would be good. An expected value theory formalizes our notions of belief and desire, treating each as a matter of degree. In this context the thesis that desire is belief might amount to (...)
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  13.  92 DLs
    John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.) (2004). Causation and Counterfactuals. The MIT Press.
    Thirty years after Lewis's paper, this book brings together some of the most important recent work connecting—or, in some cases, disputing the connection ...
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  14.  90 DLs
    John Collins (2002). Truth or Meaning? A Question of Priority. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):497-536.
    There is an incompatibility between the deflationist approach to truth, which makes truth transparent on the basis of an antecedent grasp of meaning, and the traditional endeavour, exemplified by Davidson, to explicate meaning through of truth. I suggest that both parties are in the explanatory red: deflationist lack a non-truth-involving theory of meaning and Davidsonians lack a non-deflationary account of truth. My focus is on the attempts of the latter party to resolve their problem. I look in detail at Davidson's (...)
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  15.  89 DLs
    John M. Collins (2005). On the Input Problem for Massive Modularity. Minds and Machines 15 (1):1-22.
    Jerry Fodor argues that the massive modularity thesis – the claim that (human) cognition is wholly served by domain specific, autonomous computational devices, i.e., modules – is a priori incoherent, self-defeating. The thesis suffers from what Fodor dubs the input problem: the function of a given module (proprietarily understood) in a wholly modular system presupposes non-modular processes. It will be argued that massive modularity suffers from no such a priori problem. Fodor, however, also offers what he describes as a really (...)
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  16.  68 DLs
    John M. Collins (2006). Temporal Externalism, Natural Kind Terms, and Scientifically Ignorant Communities. Philosophical Papers 35 (1):55-68.
    Temporal externalism (TE) is the thesis (defended by Jackman (1999)) that the contents of some of an individual’s thoughts and utterances at time t may be determined by linguistic developments subsequent to t. TE has received little discussion so far, Brown 2000 and Stoneham 2002 being exceptions. I defend TE by arguing that it solves several related problems concerning the extension of natural kind terms in scientifically ignorant communities. Gary Ebbs (2000) argues that no theory can reconcile our ordinary, practical (...)
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  17.  57 DLs
    John M. Collins, Epistemic Closure Principles. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  18.  55 DLs
    John Collins (2007). Linguistic Competence Without Knowledge of Language. Philosophy Compass 2 (6):880–895.
  19.  55 DLs
    John Collins (2010). Vagueness and Degrees of Truth by Nicholas J. J. Smith. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239):422-424.
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  20.  55 DLs
    John M. Collins (2005). Faculty Disputes. Mind and Language 19 (5):503-33.
    Jerry Fodor, among others, has maintained that Chomsky's language faculty hypothesis is an epistemological proposal, i.e. the faculty comprises propositional structures known (cognized) by the speaker/hearer. Fodor contrasts this notion of a faculty with an architectural (directly causally efficacious) notion of a module. The paper offers an independent characterisation of the language faculty as an abstractly specified nonpropositional structure of the mind/brain that mediates between sound and meaning—a function in intension that maps to a pair of structures that determine soundmeaning (...)
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  21.  54 DLs
    John Collins (2000). Unsharpenable Vagueness. Philosophical Topics 28 (1):1-10.
    A plausible thought about vagueness is that it involves a form of semantic incompleteness. To say that a predicate is vague is to say (at the very least) that its extension is incompletely specified. And where there is incomplete specification of extension there is indeterminacy—an indeterminacy between various ways that the specification of the predicate might be completed or, as some like to say, sharpened (or precisified). We shall argue that this idea is defective insofar as there are vague predicates (...)
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  22.  51 DLs
    John Collins (2007). Syntax, More or Less. Mind 116 (464):805-850.
    Much of the best contemporary work in the philosophy of language and content makes appeal to the theories developed in generative syntax. In particular, there is a presumption that—at some level and in some way—the structures provided by syntactic theory mesh with or support our conception of content/linguistic meaning as grounded in our first-person understanding of our communicative speech acts. This paper will suggest that there is no such tight fit. Its claim will be that, if recent generative theories are (...)
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  23.  48 DLs
    John M. Collins (2000). Theory of Mind, Logical Form and Eliminativism. Philosophical Psychology 13 (4):465-490.
    I argue for a cognitive architecture in which folk psychology is supported by an interface of a ToM module and the language faculty, the latter providing the former with interpreted LF structures which form the content representations of ToM states. I show that LF structures satisfy a range of key features asked of contents. I confront this account of ToM with eliminativism and diagnose and combat the thought that "success" and innateness are inconsistent with the falsity of folk psychology. I (...)
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  24.  47 DLs
    John Collins (2014). Cutting It (Too) Fine. Philosophical Studies 169 (2):143-172.
    It is widely held that propositions are structured entities. In The Nature and Structure of Content (2007), Jeff King argues that the structure of propositions is none other than the syntactic structure deployed by the speaker/hearers who linguistically produce and consume the sentences that express the propositions. The present paper generalises from King’s position and claims that syntax provides the best in-principle account of propositional structure. It further seeks to show, however, that the account faces serve problems pertaining to the (...)
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  25.  44 DLs
    John Collins (2007). Meta-Scientific Eliminativism: A Reconsideration of Chomsky's Review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):625 - 658.
    The paper considers our ordinary mentalistic discourse in relation to what we should expect from any genuine science of the mind. A meta-scientific eliminativism is commended and distinguished from the more familiar eliminativism of Skinner and the Churchlands. Meta-scientific eliminativism views folk psychology qua folksy as unsuited to offer insight into the structure of cognition, although it might otherwise be indispensable for our social commerce and self-understanding. This position flows from a general thesis that scientific advance is marked by an (...)
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  26.  43 DLs
    John M. Collins (2005). Nativism: In Defense of a Biological Understanding. Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):157-177.
    In recent years, a number of philosophers have argued against a biological understanding of the innate in favor of a narrowly psychological notion. On the other hand, Ariew ((1996). Innateness and canalization. Philosophy of Science, 63, S19-S27. (1999). Innateness is canalization: in defense of a developmental account of innateness. In V. Hardcastle (Ed.), Where biology meets psychology: Philosophical essays (pp. 117-138). Cambridge, MA: MIT.) has developed a novel substantial account of innateness based on developmental biology: canalization. The governing thought of (...)
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  27.  42 DLs
    John D. Collins & Achille C. Varzi (2000). Unsharpenable Vagueness. Philosophical Topics 28 (1):1-10.
    A plausible thought about vagueness is that it involves semantic incompleteness. To say that a predicate is vague is to say (at the very least) that its extension is incompletely specified. Where there is incomplete specification of extension there is indeterminacy, an indeterminacy between various ways in which the specification of the predicate might be completed or sharpened. In this paper we show that this idea is bound to founder by presenting an argument to the effect that there are vague (...)
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  28.  39 DLs
    John M. Collins (2006). Proxytypes and Linguistic Nativism. Synthese 153 (1):69-104.
    Prinz (Perceptual the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis, MIT Press, 2002) presents a new species of concept empiricism, under which concepts are off-line long-term memory networks of representations that are ‘copies’ of perceptual representations – proxytypes. An apparent obstacle to any such empiricism is the prevailing nativism of generative linguistics. The paper critically assesses Prinz’s attempt to overcome this obstacle. The paper argues that, prima facie, proxytypes are as incapable of accounting for the structure of the linguistic mind as (...)
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  29.  39 DLs
    John Collins, On Not Knowing a Language: Chomsky's Review of Skinner Reconsidered.
    "It as little occurs to me to get involved in the philosophical quarrels and arguments of my times as to go down an ally and take part in a scuffle when I see the mob fighting there." — Arthur Schopenhauer, 1828-30, Adversaria' in Manuscript Remains, Vol. 3: Berlin Manuscripts (1818-1830). Oxford: Berg Publishers.
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  30.  38 DLs
    John Collins (2011). Impossible Words Again: Or Why Beds Break but Not Make. Mind and Language 26 (2):234-260.
    Do lexical items have internal structure that contributes to, or determines, the stable interpretation of their potential hosts? One argument in favour of the claim that lexical items are so structured is that certain putative verbs appear to be ‘impossible’, where the intended interpretation of them is apparently precluded by the character of their internal structure. The adequacy of such reasoning has recently been debated by Fodor and Lepore and Johnson, but to no apparent resolution. The present paper argues that (...)
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  31.  34 DLs
    John Collins (2007). Introduction. The Studia Philonica Annual 19:81-85.
  32.  30 DLs
    John Collins (2009). The Limits of Conceivability: Logical Cognitivism and the Language Faculty. Synthese 171 (1):175 - 194.
    Robert Hanna (Rationality and logic. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006) articulates and defends the thesis of logical cognitivism, the claim that human logical competence is grounded in a cognitive faculty (in Chomsky’s sense) that is not naturalistically explicable. This position is intended to steer us between the Scylla of logical Platonism and the Charybdis of logical naturalism (/psychologism). The paper argues that Hanna’s interpretation of Chomsky is mistaken. Read aright, Chomsky’s position offers a defensible version of naturalism, one Hanna may accept (...)
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  33.  30 DLs
    John Collins (2000). Preemptive Prevention. Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):223-234.
    As the ball flew towards us I leapt to my left to catch it. But it was you, reacting more rapidly than I, who caught the ball just in front of the point at which my hand was poised. Fortunate for us that you took the catch. The ball was headed on a course which, unimpeded, would have taken it through the glass window of a nearby building. Your catch prevented the window from being broken.
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  34.  28 DLs
    John Collins (2008). Knowledge of Language Redux. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):3-43.
    The article takes up a range of issues concerning knowledge of language in response to recent work of Rey, Smith, Matthews and Devitt. I am broadly sympathetic with the direction of Rey, Smith, and Matthews. While all three are happy with the locution ‘knowledge of language’, in their different ways they all reject the apparent role for a substantive linguistic epistemology in linguistic explanation. I concur but raise some friendly concerns over even a deflationary notion of knowledge of language. Against (...)
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  35.  27 DLs
    John Collins, Names, Descriptions and Quantifiers.
  36.  26 DLs
    John Collins (2015). The Primitivist Theory of Truth By J. Asay. [REVIEW] Analysis 75 (3):525-527.
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  37.  26 DLs
    John M. Collins (2002). Ryan on Epistemic Closure Principles. Philosophia 29 (1-4):371-376.
  38.  25 DLs
    John Collins (2015). The Philosophy of Universal Grammar, by Wolfram Hinzen and Michelle Sheehan. Mind 124 (493):342-347.
  39.  24 DLs
    John Collins (2011). Innateness, Canalization, and the Modality-Independence of Language: A Reply to Griffiths and Machery. Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):195-206.
    Griffiths and Machery (2008) argue that innateness is a ?folk biological? notion, which, as such, has no useful reconstruction in contemporary biology. If this is so, not only is it wrong to identify the vernacular notion with the precise theoretical concept of canalization, but worse, it would appear that many of the putative scientific claims for particular competences and capacities being innate are simply misplaced. The present paper challenges the core substantive claim of Griffiths and Machery's position, namely, that innateness (...)
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  40.  24 DLs
    John Collins, Language, Theory, Politics: Themes From Chomsky.
    (i)  Languages are indefinitely various along every dimension. (ii) Languages are essentially systems of habit/dispositions. (iii) Languages are learnt from experience via analogy and generalisation. (iv) There is no component of the speaker/hearer’s psychology that is       specifically linguistic. (v) Syntactic relations are ones of surface immediate constituency. (vi) Linguistics is a descriptive/taxonomic science - there is nothing to      explain.
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  41.  24 DLs
    John Collins (2013). Borg, Emma., Pursuing Meaning. Review of Metaphysics 67 (1):153-154.
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  42.  23 DLs
    John Collins (2011). How to Understand Language: A Philosophical Inquiry – Bernhard Weiss. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):648-650.
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  43.  23 DLs
    Ned Hall, L. A. Paul & John Collins (eds.) (2004). Causation and Counterfactuals. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
    A collection of important recent work on the counterfactual analysis of causation.
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  44.  21 DLs
    John Collins (2012). McGinn, Colin. Truth Truth by Analysis: Games, Names, and Philosophy. Review of Metaphysics 66 (2):377-378.
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  45.  21 DLs
    John Collins (2013). The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics, by Peter Ludlow. Mind 122 (488):1150-1156.
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  46.  20 DLs
    John Collins (2006). Lotteries and the Close Shave Principle. In Stephen Hetherington (ed.), Aspects of Knowing. Elsevier Science 83.
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  47.  19 DLs
    John Collins (2011). The Unity of Linguistic Meaning. OUP Oxford.
    John Collins presents a new analysis of the problem of the unity of the proposition-how propositions can be both single things and complexes at the same time. He surveys previous investigations of the problem and offers his own novel and uniquely satisfying solution, which is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
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  48.  17 DLs
    John Collins (2002). On the Very Idea of a Science Forming Faculty. Dialectica 56 (2):125–151.
    It has been speculated, by Chomsky and others, that our capacity for scientific understanding is not only enabled but also limited by a biologically endowed science forming faculty . I look at two sorts of consideration for the SFF thesis and find both wanting. Firstly, it has been claimed that a problem‐mystery distinction militates for the SFF thesis. I suggest that the distinction can be coherently drawn for cases, but that the purported‘evidence’for even a fairly lose general demarcation of problems (...)
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  49.  16 DLs
    John Collins (2009). The Perils of Content. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):259-289.
    A range of positions persist in the proper interpretation of generative linguistics. The paper responds to recent work in this area that either weakly or strongly diverges from the non-contentful, internalist model presented in Collins (2008a). Against the sympathetic criticisms of Matthews (2008) and Smith (2008), it is argued that a crucial role for content in our understanding of linguistic theories remains obscure, although the discussion here will hopefully clarify the divergence between the parties as merely perspectival. Rey (2008) more (...)
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  50.  15 DLs
    John Collins (2007). Language: A Biological Model – Ruth Garrett Millikan. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):142–145.
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