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Michael Devitt (1996). Coming to Our Senses: A Naturalistic Program for Semantic Localism.

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  1. Expressivism About Reference and Quantification Over the Non-Existent Without Meinongian Metaphysics.Stephen Barker - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S2):215-234.
    Can we believe that there are non-existent entities without commitment to the Meinongian metaphysics? This paper argues we can. What leads us from quantification over non-existent beings to Meinongianism is a general metaphysical assumption about reality at large, and not merely quantification over the non-existent. Broadly speaking, the assumption is that every being we talk about must have a real definition. It’s this assumption that drives us to enquire into the nature of beings like Pegasus, and what our relationship as (...)
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  2.  71
    Relying on Intuitions: Where Cappelen and Deutsch Go Wrong.Michael Devitt - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):669-699.
    In Philosophy without Intuitions, Herman Cappelen challenges the ‘almost universally accepted’ thesis of ‘Centrality’: ‘philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence for philosophical theories’. Cappelen takes there to be two arguments for Centrality and rejects both. According to the first, Centrality is supported by the way philosophers characterize key premises in their arguments as ‘intuitive’. Central to Cappelen’s rejection of this is his lengthy argument that philosophers’ ‘intuition’-talk is very hard to interpret, indeed often ‘meaningless’. I argue, in contrast, that this (...)
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  3. Interpreting Intuition: Experimental Philosophy of Language.Jeffrey Maynes - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):260-278.
    The role of intuition in Kripke's arguments for the causal-historical theory of reference has been a topic of recent debate, particularly in light of empirical work on these intuitions. In this paper, I develop three interpretations of the role intuition might play in Kripke's arguments. The first aim of this exercise is to help clarify the options available to interpreters of Kripke, and the consequences for the experimental investigation of Kripkean intuitions. The second aim is to show that understanding the (...)
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  4.  59
    Primary Intersubjectivity: Empathy, Affective Reversibility, 'Self-Affection' and the Primordial 'We'.Anya Daly - 2014 - Topoi 33 (1):227-241.
    The arguments advanced in this paper are the following. Firstly, that just as Trevarthen’s three subjective/intersubjective levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, mapped out different modes of access, so too response is similarly structured, from direct primordial responsiveness, to that informed by shared pragmatic concerns and narrative contexts, to that which demands the distantiation afforded by representation. Secondly, I propose that empathy is an essential mode of intentionality, integral to the primary level of subjectivity/intersubjectivity, which is crucial to our survival as (...)
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  5.  48
    Lest Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot.Michael Devitt - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (4):475-484.
  6.  39
    Semantic Holism and Language Learning.Martin L. Jönsson - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):725-759.
    Holistic theories of meaning have, at least since Dummett’s Frege: The Philosophy of language, been assumed to be problematic from the perspective of the incremental nature of natural language learning. In this essay I argue that the general relationship between holism and language learning is in fact the opposite of that claimed by Dummett. It is only given a particular form of language learning, and a particular form of holism, that there is a problem at all; in general, for all (...)
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  7. Compositionality and Sandbag Semantics.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3329-3350.
    It is a common view that radical contextualism about linguistic meaning is incompatible with a compositional explanation of linguistic comprehension. Recently, some philosophers of language have proposed theories of 'pragmatic' compositionality challenging this assumption. This paper takes a close look at a prominent proposal of this kind due to François Recanati. The objective is to give a plausible formulation of the view. The major results are threefold. First, a basic distinction that contextualists make between mandatory and optional pragmatic processes needs (...)
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  8. If Folk Intuitions Vary, Then What?Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):618-635.
    We have recently presented evidence for cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions and explored the implications of such variation for philosophical arguments that appeal to some theory of reference as a premise. Devitt (2011) and Ichikawa and colleagues (forthcoming) offer critical discussions of the experiment and the conclusions that can be drawn from it. In this response, we reiterate and clarify what we are really arguing for, and we show that most of Devitt’s and Ichikawa and colleagues’ criticisms fail to address (...)
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  9.  63
    Unanswerable Questions for Everyone: Reply to Inan.Philip Atkins & Tim Lewis - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):263-271.
    Millianism is the familiar view that some expressions, such as proper names, contribute only their referent to the semantic content of sentences in which they occur. Inan (Philosophical Studies 2010) has recently argued that the Millian is committed to the following odd conclusion: There may be questions that he is able to grasp but that he cannot answer, either affirmatively, negatively, or with a simple I don’t know . The Millian is indeed committed to this conclusion. But we intend to (...)
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  10.  74
    Meaning Holism.Eli Dresner - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (9):611-619.
    In the first section of this paper I define meaning holism (MH) and compare it to related theses. In the second section I review several theories of meaning that incorporate MH as a feature, and in the third section I discuss the question whether and how MH is consistent with the assignment of semantic values to linguistic expressions. Finally, in the fourth section I present the main objections raised against MH in the literature and the answers given to them.
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  11.  53
    A Partial Defense of Intuition on Naturalist Grounds.Joseph Shieber - 2012 - Synthese 187 (2):321-341.
    The debate concerning the role of intuitions in philosophy has been characterized by a fundamental disagreement between two main camps. The first, the autonomists, hold that, due to the use in philosophical investigation of appeals to intuition, most of the central questions of philosophy can in principle be answered by philosophical investigation and argument without relying on the sciences. The second, the naturalists, deny the possibility of a priori knowledge and are skeptical of the role of intuition in providing evidence (...)
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  12. Experimental Semantics.Michael Devitt - 2011 - 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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  13. Just How Controversial is Evidential Holism?Joe Morrison - 2010 - Synthese 173 (3):335-352.
    This paper is an examination of evidential holism, a prominent position in epistemology and the philosophy of science which claims that experiments only ever confirm or refute entire theories. The position is historically associated with W.V. Quine, and it is at once both popular and notorious, as well as being largely under-described. But even though there’s no univocal statement of what holism is or what it does, philosophers have nevertheless made substantial assumptions about its content and its truth. Moreover they (...)
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  14.  34
    Concepts Versus Conceptions (Again).Georges Rey - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):221-222.
    Machery neglects the crucial role of concepts in psychological explanation, as well as the efforts of numerous of the last 40 years to provide an account of that role. He rightly calls attention to the wide variation in people's epistemic relations to concepts but fails to appreciate how externalist and kindred proposals offer the needed stability in concepts themselves that underlies that variation.
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  15. Concepts and Perceptual Belief: How (Not) to Defend Recognitional Concepts.Bradley Rives - 2010 - Acta Analytica 25 (4):369-391.
    Recognitional concepts have the following characteristic property: thinkers are disposed to apply them to objects merely on the basis of undergoing certain perceptual experiences. I argue that a prominent strategy for defending the existence of constitutive connections among concepts, which appeals to thinkers’ semantic-cum-conceptual intuitions, cannot be used to defend the existence of recognitional concepts. I then outline and defend an alternative argument for the existence of recognitional concepts, which appeals to certain psychological laws.
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  16. Semantic Externalism and the Mechanics of Thought.Carrie Figdor - 2009 - Minds and Machines 19 (1):1-24.
    I review a widely accepted argument to the conclusion that the contents of our beliefs, desires and other mental states cannot be causally efficacious in a classical computational model of the mind. I reply that this argument rests essentially on an assumption about the nature of neural structure that we have no good scientific reason to accept. I conclude that computationalism is compatible with wide semantic causal efficacy, and suggest how the computational model might be modified to accommodate this possibility.
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  17. Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation.Henry Jackman - 2009 - 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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  18. Concept Cartesianism, Concept Pragmatism, and Frege Cases.Bradley Rives - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (2):211-238.
    This paper concerns the dialectal role of Frege Cases in the debate between Concept Cartesians and Concept Pragmatists. I take as a starting point Christopher Peacocke’s argument that, unlike Cartesianism, his ‘Fregean’ Pragmatism can account for facts about the rationality and epistemic status of certain judgments. I argue that since this argument presupposes that the rationality of thoughts turn on their content, it is thus question-begging against Cartesians, who claim that issues about rationality turn on the form, not the content, (...)
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  19. The Empirical Case Against Analyticity: Two Options for Concept Pragmatists.Bradley Rives - 2009 - Minds and Machines 19 (2):199-227.
    It is commonplace in cognitive science that concepts are individuated in terms of the roles they play in the cognitive lives of thinkers, a view that Jerry Fodor has recently been dubbed ‘Concept Pragmatism’. Quinean critics of Pragmatism have long argued that it founders on its commitment to the analytic/synthetic distinction, since without such a distinction there is plausibly no way to distinguish constitutive from non-constitutive roles in cognition. This paper considers Fodor’s empirical arguments against analyticity, and in particular his (...)
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  20.  38
    The Philosophy of Scientific Practice in Naturalist Thought: Its Approaches and Problems. [REVIEW]Xiaofei Tian & Tong Wu - 2009 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (4):589-603.
    It is the continuity between epistemology and empirical science that the naturalism in contemporary philosophy of science emphasizes. After its individual and social dimensions, the philosophy of scientific practice takes a stand on naturalism in order to observe complex scientific activities through practice. However, regarding the naturalism’s problem of normativity, the philosophy of scientific practice today has deconstructed more than it has constructed.
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  21. Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the a Priori.Lisa Warenski - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):403-426.
    This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...)
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  22. Nonconceptual Demonstrative Reference.Athanassios Raftopoulos & Vincent C. Müller - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):251-285.
    The paper argues that the reference of perceptual demonstratives is fixed in a causal nondescriptive way through the nonconceptual content of perception. That content consists first in spatiotemporal information establishing the existence of a separate persistent object retrieved from a visual scene by the perceptual object segmentation processes that open an object-file for that object. Nonconceptual content also consists in other transducable information, that is, information that is retrieved directly in a bottom-up way from the scene (motion, shape, etc). The (...)
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  23. The Phenomenal Content of Experience.Athanassios Raftopoulos & Vincent C. Müller - 2006 - Mind and Language 21 (2):187-219.
    We discuss at some length evidence from the cognitive science suggesting that the representations of objects based on spatiotemporal information and featural information retrieved bottomup from a visual scene precede representations of objects that include conceptual information. We argue that a distinction can be drawn between representations with conceptual and nonconceptual content. The distinction is based on perceptual mechanisms that retrieve information in conceptually unmediated ways. The representational contents of the states induced by these mechanisms that are available to a (...)
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  24. On the Causal Completeness of Physics.Agustín Vicente - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2):149 – 171.
    According to an increasing number of authors, the best, if not the only, argument in favour of physicalism is the so-called 'overdetermination argument'. This argument, if sound, establishes that all the entities that enter into causal interactions with the physical world are physical. One key premise in the overdetermination argument is the principle of the causal closure of the physical world, said to be supported by contemporary physics. In this paper, I examine various ways in which physics may support the (...)
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  25. Rigid Application.Michael Devitt - 2005 - 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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  26.  45
    Deflating the Correspondence Intuition.Igor Douven & Frank Hindriks - 2005 - Dialectica 59 (3):315–329.
    A common objection against deflationist theories of truth is that they cannot do justice to the correspondence intuition, i.e. the intuition that there is an explanatory relationship between, for instance, the truth of ‘Snow is white’ and snow's being white. We scrutinize two attempts to meet this objection and argue that both fail. We then propose a new response to the objection which, first, sheds doubt on the correctness of the correspondence intuition and, second, seeks to explain how we may (...)
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  27. Temporal Externalism and Our Ordinary Linguistic Practices.Henry Jackman - 2005 - 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 “ordinary linguistic practices”, such criticisms (1) conflate our ordinary ascriptional practices with our more general beliefs about meaning, and (2) fail to distinguish epistemically from pragmatically motivated linguistic changes. Temporal externalism relates only to the former sort of changes, and the future usage relevant (...)
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  28.  90
    Mental Causation and the Paradoxes of Explanation.Karsten R. Stueber - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 122 (3):243-77.
    In this paper I will discuss Kims powerful explanatory exclusion argument against the causal efficacy of mental properties. Baker and Burge misconstrue Kims challenge if they understand it as being based on a purely metaphysical understanding of causation that has no grounding in an epistemological analysis of our successful scientific practices. As I will show, the emphasis on explanatory practices can only be effective in answering Kim if it is understood as being part of the dual-explanandum strategy. Furthermore, a fundamental (...)
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  29.  84
    Syntax, Semantics, and Intentional Aspects.Hilla Jacobson-Horowitz - 2004 - Philosophical Papers 33 (1):67-95.
    Abstract It is widely assumed that the meaning of at least some types of expressions involves more than their reference to objects, and hence that there may be co-referential expressions which differ in meaning. It is also widely assumed that ?syntax does not suffice for semantics?, i.e. that we cannot account for the fact that expressions have semantic properties in purely syntactical or computational terms. The main goal of the paper is to argue against a third related assumption, namely that (...)
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  30. Foundationalism, Coherentism, and Rule-Following Skepticism.Henry Jackman - 2003 - 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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  31. Meaning and Use.Michael Devitt - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (1):106-121.
    Part I argues that the usc theory in Horwich’s Meaning does not give sufficient attention to the relation between language and thought. A development of the theory is proposed that gives explanatory priority to the mental. The paper also urges that Horwich’s identification of a word’s meaning by its role in explaining the cause of sentences should be broadened to include its role in explaining the linguistic and non linguistic behavior that sentences cause. Part II argues that Horwich greatly overstates (...)
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  32.  9
    Underdetermination and Realism.Michael Devitt - 2002 - Philosophical Issues 12 (1):26-50.
  33. Underdetermination and Realism.Michael Devitt - 2002 - Noûs 36 (s1):26 - 50.
  34.  50
    Computation and Intentional Psychology.Murat Aydede - 2000 - Dialogue 39 (2):365-379.
    The relation between computational and intentional psychology has always been a vexing issue. The worry is that if mental processes are computational, then these processes, which are defined over symbols, are sensitive solely to the non-semantic properties of symbols. If so, perhaps psychology could dispense with adverting in its laws to intentional/semantic properties of symbols. Stich, as is well-known, has made a great deal out of this tension and argued for a purely "syntactic" psychology by driving a wedge between a (...)
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  35.  56
    The Compatibility of a Priori Knowledge and Empirical Defeasibility: A Defense of a Modest a Priori.Pat Manfredi - 2000 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 38 (S1):179-189.
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    Mentalese Not Spoken Here: Computation, Cognition, and Causation.Jay L. Garfield - 1997 - Philosophical Psychology 10 (4):413-35.
    Classical computational modellers of mind urge that the mind is something like a von Neumann computer operating over a system of symbols constituting a language of thought. Such an architecture, they argue, presents us with the best explanation of the compositionality, systematicity and productivity of thought. The language of thought hypothesis is supported by additional independent arguments made popular by Jerry Fodor. Paul Smolensky has developed a connectionist architecture he claims adequately explains compositionality, systematicity and productivity without positing any language (...)
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