Michael McKinsey Wayne State University
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  • Faculty, Wayne State University
  • PhD, Indiana University, 1976.

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About me
My research is in the Philosophy of Language and has primarily concerned the semantics of natural language, especially the meaning and reference of proper names, indexical and anaphoric pronouns, natural kind terms, and the meaning and logical form of cognitive ascriptions. I am also very interested in the relevance of these topics to traditional metaphysical questions in the Philosophy of Mind, including the nature of cognitive properties and the mind/body problem, as well as to issues in the Philosophy of Logic, including the nature of logical truth and valid inference. I am the author of over thirty articles on these and other topics. Some recent articles include: "The Semantics of Belief Ascriptions," (Nous); “On Knowing Our Own Minds,” (Philosophical Quarterly), “Forms of Externalism and Privileged Access,” (Philosophical Perspectives), “Thought by Description,” (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research), "Understanding Proper Names,” (Linguistics and Philosophy), and "Truths Containing Empty Names" (in "Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names").
My works
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  1. "Truths Containing Empty Names".Michael McKinsey - 2016 - In Piotr Stalmaszczyk & Luis Fernandez Moreno (eds.), Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names. Peter Lang. pp. 175-202.
    Abstract. On the Direct Reference thesis, proper names are what I call ‘genuine terms’, terms whose sole semantic contributions to the propositions expressed by their use are the terms’ semantic referents. But unless qualified, this thesis implies the false consequence that sentences containing names that fail to refer can never express true or false propositions. (Consider ‘The ancient Greeks worshipped Zeus’, for instance.) I suggest that while names are typically and fundamentally used as genuine terms, there is a small class (...)
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  2. Understanding Proper Names.Michael McKinsey - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (4):325-354.
    There is a fairly general consensus that names are Millian (or Russellian) genuine terms, that is, are singular terms whose sole semantic function is to introduce a referent into the propositions expressed by sentences containing the term. This answers the question as to what sort of proposition is expressed by use of sentences containing names. But there is a second serious semantic problem about proper names, that of how the referents of proper names are determined. This is the question that (...)
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  3.  90
    Thought by Description.Michael Mckinsey - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):83-102.
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  4. Thought by Description.Michael Mckinsey - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):83-102.
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  5.  60
    14 A Refutation of Qualia-Physicalism.Michael McKinsey - 2007 - In Michael O'Rourke Corey Washington (ed.), Situating Semantics: Essays on the Philosophy of John Perry. pp. 469.
  6.  37
    Externalism and Privileged Access Are Inconsistent.Michael McKinsey - 2007 - In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.
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  7.  63
    Direct Reference and Logical Truth: A Reply to Lasonen-Aarnio.Michael McKinsey - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (4):447-451.
  8.  57
    Critical Notice of Scott Soames, Beyond Rigidity.Michael McKinsey - 2005 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (1):149-168.
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  9.  79
    Transmission of Warrant and Closure of Apriority.Michael McKinsey - 2003 - In Susana Nuccetelli (ed.), New Essays on Semantic Externalism and Self-Knowledge. MIT Press. pp. 97--116.
    In my 1991 paper, AAnti-Individualism and Privileged Access,@ I argued that externalism in the philosophy of mind is incompatible with the thesis that we have privileged , nonempirical access to the contents of our own thoughts.<sup>1</sup> One of the most interesting responses to my argument has been that of Martin Davies (1998, 2000, and Chapter _ above) and Crispin Wright (2000 and Chapter _ above), who describe several types of cases to show that warrant for a premise does not always (...)
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  10.  98
    Forms of Externalism and Privileged Access.Michael McKinsey - 2002 - Philosophical Perspectives 16 (s16):199-224.
  11.  67
    On Knowing Our Own Minds. [REVIEW]Michael McKinsey - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):107-16.
    This is an anthology of ?fteen papers concerning various philosophical problems related to the topic of self-knowledge. All but one of the papers were previously unpublished, and all but two are descendants of presentations at a conference on self-knowledge held at the University of St Andrews in 1995. The collection.
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  12. On Knowing Our Own Minds.Michael Mckinsey - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):107-116.
    Book reviewed in this article:Crispin Wright, Barry C. Smith and Cynthia Macdonald, Knowing Our Own Minds.
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  13.  24
    The Semantic Basis of Externalism.Michael McKinsey - 2001 - In J. Campbell, M. O. Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth. New York: Seven Bridges Press.
    1. The primary evidence and motivation for externalism in the philosophy of mind is provided by the semantic facts that support direct reference theories of names, indexi- cal pronouns, and natural kind terms. But many externalists have forgotten their sem- antic roots, or so I shall contend here. I have become convinced of this by a common reaction among externalists to the main argument of my 1991 paper AAnti-Individual- ism and Privileged Access.@ In that argument, I concluded that externalism is (...)
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  14. The Semantics of Belief Ascriptions.Michael McKinsey - 1999 - Noûs 33 (4):519-557.
    nated discussion of the semantics of such verbs. I will call this view.
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  15.  54
    The Grammar of Belief.Michael McKinsey - 1998 - In William J. Rapaport & F. Orilia (eds.), Thought, Language, and Ontology, Essays in Memory of Hector-Neri Castaneda. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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  16.  28
    Beyond Formalism.Michael McKinsey - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3):709-713.
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  17. Accepting the Consequences of Anti-Individualism.Michael McKinsey - 1994 - Analysis 54 (2):124-8.
  18. Accepting the consequences of anti-individualism.Michael Mckinsey - 1994 - Erkenntnis 54:124.
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  19.  62
    Individuating Beliefs.Michael McKinsey - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:303-30.
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  20.  50
    Curing Folk Psychology of Arthritis.Michael McKinsey - 1993 - Philosophical Studies 70 (3):323-36.
    Tyler Burge's (1979) famous thought experiment concerning 'arthritis' is commonly assumed to show that all ascriptions of content to beliefs and other attitudes are dependent for their truth upon facts about the agent's social and linguistic environment. It is also commonly claimed that Burge's argument shows that Putnam's (1975) result regarding natural kind terms applies to all general terms whatever, and hence shows that all such terms have wide meanings.1 But I wish to show here, first, that neither Burge's initial (...)
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  21. Anti-Individualism and Privileged Access.Michael McKinsey - 1991 - Analysis 51 (January):9-16.
  22.  54
    The Internal Basis of Meaning.Michael McKinsey - 1991 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 72 (June):143-69.
  23.  80
    Apriorism in the Philosophy of Language.Michael McKinsey - 1987 - Philosophical Studies 52 (July):1-32.
  24. Mental Anaphora.Michael Mckinsey - 1986 - Synthese 66 (1):159 - 175.
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  25.  18
    Book Reviews. [REVIEW]N. C. A. Costa, David Harrah, Michael Tye, D. S. Clarke, Jeffrey Olen, Robert Young, Richard Campbell, Michael McKinsey, John Peterson, Alex C. Michalos, John Glucker, John T. Blackmore, Eileen Bagus & Barbara Goodwin - 1985 - Philosophia 15 (1-2):279-281.
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  26.  29
    Causality and the Paradox of Names.Michael Mckinsey - 1984 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):491-515.
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  27.  27
    Michael Devitt, Designation Reviewed By.Michael McKinsey - 1983 - Philosophy in Review 3 (3):112-116.
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  28.  80
    Psychologism in Semantics.Michael McKinsey - 1983 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 13 (1):1 - 25.
    According to grice, Semantic concepts like meaning and reference should be explicated in terms of the propositional attitudes. In this paper, I argue that grice's program is mistaken in principle. I first motivate a gricean strategy for defining denotation, Or semantic reference, In terms of rules that govern what speakers may refer to with the terms they use. I then express three paradigm gricean theories of denotation and introduce considerations which show that these theories are false.
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  29.  6
    Causes and Intentions: A Reply.Michael McKinsey - 1981 - Philosophical Review 90 (3):408-423.
  30.  83
    Obligations to the Starving.Michael McKinsey - 1981 - Noûs 15 (3):309-323.
  31.  32
    Against a Defence of Cluster Theories.Michael McKinsey - 1980 - Analysis 40 (1):1 - 5.
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  32.  33
    Expressing Mental States.Michael McKinsey - 1979 - Philosophia 8 (4):657-671.
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  33.  44
    Levels of Obligation.Michael McKinsey - 1979 - Philosophical Studies 35 (4):385 - 395.
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  34.  61
    The Ambiguity of Definite Descriptions.Michael Mckinsey - 1979 - Theoria 45 (2):78-89.
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  35. Kripke's Objections to Description Theories of Names.Michael McKinsey - 1978 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):485 - 497.
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  36. Names and Intentionality.Michael McKinsey - 1978 - Philosophical Review 87 (2):171-200.
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  37.  52
    Divided Reference in Causal Theories of Names.Michael McKinsey - 1976 - Philosophical Studies 30 (4):235 - 242.
    Gareth evans has proposed a type of case which shows that kripke's sketch of a causal theory of proper names is in need of modification. Kripke has himself suggested a way in which the modification might proceed, But I argue that this suggestion leads in the wrong direction. I consider a development of kripke's view by michael devitt which may overcome evans' case, But which is shown false by a different sort of case. The latter kind of case also shows (...)
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  38. Searle on Proper Names.Michael McKinsey - 1971 - Philosophical Review 80 (2):220-229.
    Searle has proposed a "presupposition-Theory" of proper names in which he maintains that names are not short for descriptions and which, He claims, Solves frege's puzzle as to how an identity-Sentence containing co-Referential names can be informative. Two possible interpretations of searle's view are proposed, And it is argued that neither interpretation can be used to solve frege's puzzle and that, On the most plausible interpretation of his view, Searle is committed to the thesis that names are short for descriptions (...)
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