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Kent Bach [150]K. Bach [7]Ken Bach [1]Kent Preston Bach [1]
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Profile: Kent Bach (San Francisco State University)
  1.  41
    Kent Bach (1987). Thought and Reference. Oxford University Press.
    Presenting a novel account of singular thought, a systematic application of recent work in the theory of speech acts, and a partial revival of Russell's analysis of singular terms, this book takes an original approach to the perennial problems of reference and singular terms by separating the underlying issues into different levels of analysis.
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  2. Kent Bach (1994). Conversational Impliciture. Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.
    Confusion in terms inspires confusion in concepts. When a relevant distinction is not clearly marked or not marked at all, it is apt to be blurred or even missed altogether in our thinking. This is true in any area of inquiry, pragmatics in particular. No one disputes that there are various ways in which what is communicated in an utterance can go beyond sentence meaning. The problem is to catalog the ways. It is generally recognized that linguistic meaning underdetermines speaker (...)
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  3. K. Bach & R. Harnish (1979). Linguistic Communication and Speech Acts. MIT Press.
  4. Kent Bach (1999). The Myth of Conventional Implicature. Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (4):327-366.
    Grice’s distinction between what is said and what is implicated has greatly clarified our understanding of the boundary between semantics and pragmatics. Although border disputes still arise and there are certain difficulties with the distinction itself (see the end of §1), it is generally understood that what is said falls on the semantic side and what is implicated on the pragmatic side. But this applies only to what is..
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  5. Kent Bach (2008). Applying Pragmatics to Epistemology. Philosophical Issues 18 (1):68-88.
    This paper offers a smattering of applications of pragmatics to epistemology. In most cases they concern recent epistemological claims that depend for their plausibility on mistaking something pragmatic for something semantic. After giving my formulation of the semantic/pragmatic distinction and explaining how seemingly semantic intuitions can be responsive to pragmatic factors, I take up the following topics: 1. Classic Examples of Confusing Meaning and Use 2. Pragmatic Implications of Hedging or Intensifying an Assertion 3. Belief Attributions 4. Knowledge-wh 5. The (...)
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  6. Kent Bach (2001). You Don't Say? Synthese 128 (1-2):15--44.
    This paper defends a purely semantic notionof what is said against various recent objections. Theobjections each cite some sort of linguistic,psychological, or epistemological fact that issupposed to show that on any viable notion of what aspeaker says in uttering a sentence, there ispragmatic intrusion into what is said. Relying on amodified version of Grice's notion, on which what issaid must be a projection of the syntax of the utteredsentence, I argue that a purely semantic notion isneeded to account for the (...)
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  7. Kent Bach (1997). Do Belief Reports Report Beliefs? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (3):215-241.
    The traditional puzzles about belief reports puzzles rest on a certain seemingly innocuous assumption, that 'that'-clauses specify belief contents. The main theories of belief reports also rest on this "Specification Assumption", that for a belief report of the form 'A believes that p' to be true,' the proposition that p must be among the things A believes. I use Kripke's Paderewski case to call the Specification Assumption into question. Giving up that assumption offers prospects for an intuitively more plausible approach (...)
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  8.  65
    Kent Bach (2005). The Emperor's New 'Knows'. In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Contextualism in Philosophy: Knowledge, Meaning, and Truth. Oxford University Press 51--89.
    When I examine contextualism there is much that I can doubt. I can doubt whether it is a cogent theory that I examining, and not a cleverly stated piece of whacks. I can doubt whether there is any real theory there at all. Perhaps what I took to be a theory was really some reflections; perhaps I am even the victim of some cognitive hallucination. One thing however I cannot doubt: that there exists a widely read pitch of a round (...)
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  9. Kent Bach (2005). Context Ex Machina. In Zoltán Gendler Szabó (ed.), Semantics Versus Pragmatics. Oxford University Press 15--44.
    Once upon a time it was assumed that speaking literally and directly is the norm and that speaking nonliterally or indirectly is the exception. The assumption was that normally what a speaker means can be read off of the meaning of the sentence he utters, and that departures from this, if not uncommon, are at least easily distinguished from normal utterances and explainable along Gricean lines. The departures were thought to be limited to obvious cases like figurative speech and conversational (...)
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  10. Kent Bach (1999). The Semantics Pragmatics Distinction: What It is and Why It Matters. In K. Turner (ed.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Interface From Different Points of View. Elsevier 65--84.
    The distinction between semantics and pragmatics is easier to apply than to explain. Explaining it is complicated by the fact that many conflicting formulations have been proposed over the past sixty years. This might suggest that there is no one way of drawing the distinction and that how to draw it is merely a terminological question, a matter of arbitrary stipulation. In my view, though, these diverse formulations, despite their conflicts, all shed light on the distinction as it is commonly (...)
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  11.  68
    Kent Bach (1984). Default Reasoning: Jumping to Conclusions and Knowing When to Think Twice. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 65 (1):37.
    Look before you leap. - Proverb. He who hesitates is lost. - Another proverb.
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  12. Kent Bach (2000). Quantification, Qualification and Context a Reply to Stanley and Szabó. Mind and Language 15 (2&3):262–283.
    We hardly ever mean exactly what we say. I don’t mean that we generally speak figuratively or that we’re generally insincere. Rather, I mean that we generally speak loosely, omitting words that could have made what we meant more explicit and letting our audience fill in the gaps. Language works far more efficiently when we do that. Literalism can have its virtues, as when we’re drawing up a contract, programming a computer, or writing a philosophy paper, but we generally opt (...)
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  13. Kent Bach (1981). An Analysis of Self-Deception. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 41 (March):351-370.
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  14.  91
    Kent Bach (2002). Giorgione Was so-Called Because of His Name. Philosophical Perspectives 16 (s16):73-103.
    Proper names seem simple on the surface. Indeed, anyone unfamiliar with philosophical debates about them might wonder what the fuss could possibly be about. It seems obvious why we need them and what we do with them, and that is to talk about particular persons, places, and things. You don't have to be as smart as Mill to think that proper names are simply tags attached to individuals. But sometimes appearances are deceiving.
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  15.  78
    Kent Bach (2004). Descriptions: Points of Reference. In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press 189-229.
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  16. Kent Bach (2006). The Excluded Middle: Semantic Minimalism Without Minimal Propositions. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):435–442.
    Insensitive Semantics is mainly a protracted assault on semantic Contextualism, both moderate and radical. Cappelen and Lepore argue that Moderate Contextualism leads inevitably, like marijuana to heroin or masturbation to blindness, to Radical Contextualism and in turn that Radical Contextualism is misguided. Assuming that the only alternative to Contextualism is their Semantic Minimalism, they think they’ve given an indirect argument for it. But they overlook a third view, one that splits the difference between the other two. Like Contextualism it rejects (...)
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  17. Kent Bach (2010). Knowledge in and Out of Context. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O.’Rourke & Harry S. Silverstein (eds.), Knowledge and Skepticism. MIT Press 105--36.
    In this chapter, the author offers another explanation of the variation in contents, which is explained by contextualism as being related to a variation in standards. The author’s explanation posits that the contents of knowledge attributions are invariant. The variation lies in what knowledge attributions we are willing to make or accept. Although not easy to acknowledge, what contextualism counts as knowledge varies with the context in which it is attributed. A new rival to contextualism, known as Subject-Sensitive Invariantism, goes (...)
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  18.  93
    Kent Bach (1985). A Rationale for Reliabilism. The Monist 68 (2):246-263.
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  19.  88
    Kent Bach (2010). Getting a Thing Into a Thought. In Robin Jeshion (ed.), New Essays on Singular Thought. Oxford University Press 39.
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  20.  80
    Kent Bach (1970). Part of What a Picture Is. British Journal of Aesthetics 10 (2):119-137.
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  21. Kent Bach (1992). Intentions and Demonstrations. Analysis 52 (3):140--146.
    MARGA REIMER has forcefully challenged David Kaplan's recent claim ([3], pp. 582-4) that demonstrative gestures, in connnection with uses of demonstrative expressions, are without semantic significance and function merely as 'aids to communication', and that speaker intentions are what determine the demonstratum. Against this Reimer argues that demonstrations can and do play an essential semantic role and that the role of intentions is marginal at best. That is, together with the linguistic meaning of the demonstrative phrase being used, an act (...)
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  22. Kent Bach (2009). Perspectives on Possibilities: Contextualism, Relativism, or What? In Andy Egan & B. Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press
    Epistemic possibilities are relative to bodies of information, or perspectives. To claim that something is epistemically possible is typically to claim that it is possible relative one’s own current perspective. We generally do this by using bare, unqualified epistemic possibility (EP) sentences, ones that don’t mention our perspective. The fact that epistemic possibilities are relative to perspectives suggests that these bare EP sentences fall short of fully expressing propositions, contrary to what both contextualists and relativists take for granted. Although they (...)
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  23.  62
    Kent Bach (2001). Speaking Loosely: Sentence Nonliterality. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):249–263.
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  24.  86
    Kent Bach (2007). Referentially Used Descriptions: A Reply to Devitt. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (2):33-48.
  25.  65
    Kent Bach (2014). Consulting The Reference Book. Mind and Language 29 (4):455-474.
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  26.  61
    Kent Bach, Loaded Words: On the Semantics and Pragmatics of Slurs.
    There are many mean and nasty things to say about mean and nasty talk, but I don't plan on saying any of them. There's a specific problem about slurring words that I want to address. This is a semantic problem. It's not very important compared to the real-world problems presented by bigotry, racism, discrimination, and worse. It's important only to linguistics and the philosophy of language.
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  27.  37
    Kent Bach (2015). The Predicate View of Proper Names. Philosophy Compass 10 (11):772-784.
    The Millian view that the meaning of a proper name is simply its referent has long been popular among philosophers of language. It might even be deemed the orthodox view, despite its well-known difficulties. Fregean and Russellian alternatives, though widely discussed, are much less popular. The Predicate View has not even been taken seriously, at least until fairly recently, but finally, it is receiving the attention it deserves. It says that a name expresses the property of bearing that name. Despite (...)
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  28. Kent Bach, Comparing Frege and Russell.
    Frege's and Russell's views are obviously different, but because of certain superficial similarities in how they handle certain famous puzzles about proper names, they are often assimilated. Where proper names are concerned, both Frege and Russell are often described together as "descriptivists." But their views are fundamentally different. To see that, let's look at the puzzle of names without bearers, as it arises in the context of Mill's purely referential theory of proper names, aka the 'Fido'-Fido theory.
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  29.  78
    Kent Bach (1981). What's in a Name. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):371 – 386.
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  30. Kent Bach & Robert M. Harnish (1992). How Performatives Really Work: A Reply to Searle. [REVIEW] Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (1):93 - 110.
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  31. Kent Bach (2012). Context Dependence. In Manuel García-Carpintero & Max Kölbel (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Continuum International Pub.
    All sorts of things are context-dependent in one way or another. What it is appropriate to wear, to give, or to reveal depends on the context. Whether or not it is all right to lie, harm, or even kill depends on the context. If you google the phrase ‘depends on the context’, you’ll get several hundred million results. This chapter aims to narrow that down. In this context the topic is context dependence in language and its use. It is commonly (...)
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  32. Kent Bach (2012). Review, Jason Stanley, Know How. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    Stanley’s insightful new book refines his earlier formulation of intellectualism. Indeed, it does a whole lot more, but leaves open some tough questions. He makes a powerful case for the view that knowing how to do something is to know, of a certain way, that one could do that thing in that way. But he says surprisingly little about what ways are, and how they might differ, depending on the kind of case. And he doesn't exclude the possibility that in (...)
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  33. Kent Bach, On Referring and Not Referring.
    Even though it’s based on a bad argument, there’s something to Strawson’s dictum. He might have likened ‘referring expression’ to phrases like ‘eating utensil’ and ‘dining room’: just as utensils don’t eat and dining rooms don’t dine, so, he might have argued, expressions don’t refer. Actually, that wasn’t his argument, though it does make you wonder. Rather, Strawson exploited the fact that almost any referring expression, whether an indexical, demonstrative, proper name, or definite description, can be used to refer to (...)
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  34.  50
    Kent Bach (1992). Paving the Road to Reference. Philosophical Studies 67 (3):295--300.
  35. Kent Bach (1980). Actions Are Not Events. Mind 89 (353):114-120.
  36. Kent Bach, Speech Acts.
    The theory of speech acts is partly taxonomic and partly explanatory. It must systematically classify types of speech acts and the ways in which they can succeed or fail. It must reckon with the fact that the relationship between the words being used and the force of their utterance is often oblique. For example, the sentence 'This is a pig sty' might be used nonliterally to state that a certain room is messy and filthy and, further, to demand indirectly that (...)
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  37. Kent Bach (ed.) (2005). Festchrift for Larry Horn. John Benjamins.
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  38.  80
    Kent Bach (1975). Performatives Are Statements Too. Philosophical Studies 28 (4):229 - 236.
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  39. Kent Bach, What is (Semantic) Contextualism?
    Sentences whose semantic contents seem to differ in different contexts, in virtue of containing expressions of such sorts as the following (there may be others).
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  40. Kent Bach (2007). Reflections on Reference and Reflexivity. In Michael O'Rourke Corey Washington (ed.), Situating Semantics: Essays on the Philosophy of John Perry. 395--424.
    In Reference and Reflexivity, John Perry tries to reconcile referentialism with a Fregean concern for cognitive significance. His trick is to supplement referential content with what he calls ‘‘reflexive’’ content. Actually, there are several levels of reflexive content, all to be distinguished from the ‘‘official,’’ referential content of an utterance. Perry is convinced by two arguments for referentialism, the ‘‘counterfactual truth-conditions’’ and the ‘‘same-saying’’ arguments, but he also acknowledges the force of two Fregean arguments against it, arguments that pose the (...)
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  41.  87
    Kent Bach (1981). Referential/Attributive. Synthese 49 (2):219 - 244.
  42.  56
    Kent Bach (2006). What Does It Take To Refer? In Ernest Lepore & Barry Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press 516--554.
    This article makes a number of points about reference, both speaker reference and linguistic (or semantic) reference. The bottom line is simple: reference ain't easy — at least not nearly as easy as commonly supposed. Much of what speakers do that passes for reference is really something else, and much of what passes for linguistic reference is really nothing more than speaker reference. Referring is one of the basic things we do with words, and it would be a good idea (...)
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  43.  90
    Kent Bach (2004). Minding the Gap. In Claudia Bianchi (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction. Csli 27--43.
  44.  57
    Kent Bach (2006). Review of Christopher Potts, The Logic of Conventional Implicatures. Journal of Linguistics 42 (2).
    Paul Grice warned that ‘the nature of conventional implicature needs to be examined before any free use of it, for explanatory purposes, can be indulged in’ (1978/1989: 46). Christopher Potts heeds this warning, brilliantly and boldly. Starting with a definition drawn from Grice’s few brief remarks on the subject, he distinguishes conventional implicature from other phenomena with which it might be confused, identifies a variety of common but little-studied kinds of expressions that give rise to it, and develops a formal, (...)
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  45. Kent Bach (2000). A Puzzle About Belief Reports. In K. Jaszczolt (ed.), The Pragmatics of Propositional Attitude Reports. Elsevier
    I'd like to present a puzzle about belief reports that's been nagging at me for several years. I've subjected many friends and audiences to various abortive attempts at solving it. Now it's time to get it off my chest and let others try their hand at it.<1>.
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  46. Kent Bach (2005). The Top 10 Minconceptions About Implicature. In Festchrift for Larry Horn. John Benjamins
    I’ve known about conversational implicature a lot longer than I’ve known Larry. In 1967 I read Grice’s “Logical and Conversation” in mimeograph, shortly after his William James lectures, and I read its precursor “(Implication),” section III of “The Causal Theory of Perception”, well before that. And I’ve thought, read, and written about implicature off and on ever since. Nevertheless, I know a lot less about it than Larry does, and that’s not even taking into account everything he has uncovered about (...)
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  47.  64
    Kent Bach (1995). Standardization Vs. Conventionalization. Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (6):677 - 686.
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  48.  76
    Kent Bach (2007). Searle Against the World : How Can Experiences Find Their Objects? In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), John Searle's Philosophy of Language: Force, Meaning, and Mind. Cambridge University Press
    Here's an old question in the philosophy of perception: here I am, looking at this pen [I hold up a pen in my hand]. Presumably I really am seeing this pen. Even so, I could be having an experience just like the one I am having without anything being there. So how can the experience I am having really involve direct awareness of the pen? It seems as though the presence of the pen is inessential to the way the experience (...)
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  49.  5
    Kent Bach (2007). The Main Bone of Contention. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (2):55-58.
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  50. Kent Bach, Impliciture Vs. Explicature: What's the Difference?
    I am often asked to explain the difference between my notion of impliciture (Bach 1994) and the relevance theorists’ notion of explicature (Sperber and Wilson 1986; Carston 2002). Despite the differences between the theoretical frameworks within which they operate, the two notions seem very similar. Relevance theorists describe explicatures as “developments of logical forms,” whereas I think of implicitures as “expansions” or “completions” of semantic contents (depending on whether or not the sentence’s semantic content amounts to a proposition). That is (...)
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