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Profile: Jonathan Ellis (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  1. Jonathan Ellis, Can an Externalist About Concepts Be an Internalist About Phenomenal Character.
    Many philosophers today believe that what an individual is thinking does not depend entirely on the individual.
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  2. Jonathan Ellis, Knowing How to Do What One Can't Do.
    In this paper, I argue against Alva Noë’s defense of the claim that knowing how to do something requires being able to do it. Noë objects to Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson’s arguments against this claim by charging that their arguments involve a lot of what he calls “GOOP”: good old-fashioned Oxford philosophy. I provide an example in which I claim an individual knows how to do something that he is unable to do. The example is persuasive, I maintain, and (...)
     
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  3. Jonathan Ellis (forthcoming). Stroud's Modest Transcendental Argument. In W. Wong, N. Kolodny & J. Bridges (eds.), The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding: Essays for Barry Stroud. Oxford University Press.
    Barry Stroud is well known as a critic of philosophers who purport to answer, or otherwise deflate, the threat of skepticism of the external world. He is most famous in this regard for his seminal paper on transcendental arguments, in which he argues that the prospects of defeating the skeptic with such arguments typically depend upon an implausible form of verification principle. There he mostly focuses upon Strawson and Shoemaker. But since then, Stroud has addressed strategies taken against skepticism as (...)
     
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  4. Jonathan Ellis (forthcoming). The Relevance of Radical Interpretation. In J. Malpas (ed.), The Hermeneutic Davidson. MIT Press.
    In Davidson’s philosophy, one finds a wide variety of rich, provocative, and influential arguments concerning the nature of the mind—that mental states emerge only in the context of interpretation, that belief is “in its nature” veridical, that mental events are physical events, and so on. Most, if not all, of Davidson’s conclusions about the mind have their source in discussions about the project of “radical interpretation.” They rely upon arguments concerning the conditions on the successful interpretation of a speaker by (...)
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  5. Jonathan Ellis (2012). Sensation, Introspection, and the Phenomenal. In J. Ellis & D. Guevara (eds.), Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind. Oup.
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  6. Jonathan Ellis (2011). On the Concept of a Game. Philosophical Investigations 34 (4):381-392.
    In an essay for Brian Leiter's turn-of-the-millennium The Future for Philosophy, Thomas Hurka writes:[A]n anti-theoretical position is properly open only to those who have made a serious effort to theorize a given domain and found that it cannot succeed. Anti-theorists who do not make this effort are simply being lazy, like Wittgenstein himself. . . . [I]n one of the great underappreciated books of the twentieth century Bernard Suits gives perfectly persuasive necessary and sufficient conditions for something's being a game.In (...)
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  7. Jonathan Ellis (2010). Phenomenal Character, Phenomenal Concepts, and Externalism. Philosophical Studies 147 (2):273 - 299.
    A celebrated problem for representationalist theories of phenomenal character is that, given externalism about content, these theories lead to externalism about phenomenal character. While externalism about content is widely accepted, externalism about phenomenal character strikes many philosophers as wildly implausible. Even if internally identical individuals could have different thoughts, it is said, if one of them has a headache, or a tingly sensation, so must the other. In this paper, I argue that recent work on phenomenal concepts reveals that, contrary (...)
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  8. Jonathan Ellis (2007). Content Externalism and Phenomenal Character: A New Worry About Privileged Access. Synthese 159 (1):47 - 60.
    A central question in contemporary epistemology concerns whether content externalism threatens a common doctrine about privileged access. If the contents of a subject.
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  9. Jonathan Ellis (2006). Color, Error, and Explanatory Power. Dialectica 60 (2):171-179.
    At least since Democritus, philosophers have been fond of the idea that material objects do not “really” have color. One such view is the error theory, according to which our ordinary judgments ascribing colors to objects are all erroneous, false; no object has any color at all. The error theorist proposes that everything that is so, including the fact that material objects appear to us to have color, can be explained without ever attributing color to objects—by appealing merely to, e.g., (...)
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  10. Jonathan Ellis (2006). Thinking About Thinking About Thinking About Thinking (About Poker). In E. Bronson (ed.), Poker and Philosophy. Open Court Press.
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  11. Jonathan Ellis (2006). The Contents of Hume's Appendix and the Source of His Despair. Hume Studies 32 (2):195-231.
    This paper has two goals: first, to show that the footnote and structure of App. 20, to which too little careful attention has been given, ultimately undermine a great many interpretations of Hume’s dissatisfaction with his theory of personal identity; and second, to offer an interpretation that both heeds these textual features and (unlike other interpretations consistent with these features) renders Hume worried about something that would have truly bothered him. Hume’s problem, I contend, concerns the relation, in his genetic (...)
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  12. Jonathan Ellis (2005). Colour Irrealism and the Formation of Colour Concepts. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):53-73.
    According to colour irrealism, material objects do not have colour; they only appear to have colour. The appeal of this view, prominent among philosophers and scientists alike, stems in large part from the conviction that scientific explanations of colour facts do not ascribe colour to material objects. To explain why objects appear to have colour, for instance, we need only appeal to surface reflectance properties, properties of light, the neurophysiology of observers, etc. Typically attending colour irrealism is the error theory (...)
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  13. Jonathan Ellis (2004). Context, Indexicals and the Sorites. Analysis 64 (4):362–364.
    The reason, according to the contextualist, that precise boundaries for expressions like ‘heap’ or ‘tall for a basketball player’ are so difficult to detect is that when two entities are sufficiently similar (or saliently similar), we tend to shift the interpretation of the vague expression so that if one counts as falling in the extension of the property expressed by that expression, so does the other. As a conse- quence, when we look for the boundary of the extension of a (...)
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