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Paul Pietroski
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
  1.  58
    Events and Semantic Architecture.Paul M. Pietroski - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
    A study of how syntax relates to meaning by a leader of the new generation of philosopher-linguists.
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  2. Prima Facie Obligations, Ceteris Paribus Laws in Moral Theory.Paul M. Pietroski - 1993 - Ethics 103 (3):489-515.
  3. Nature, Nurture, and Universal Grammar.Stephen Crain & Paul M. Pietroski - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (2):139-186.
    In just a few years, children achieve a stable state of linguistic competence, making them effectively adults with respect to: understanding novel sentences, discerning relations of paraphrase and entailment, acceptability judgments, etc. One familiar account of the language acquisition process treats it as an induction problem of the sort that arises in any domain where the knowledge achieved is logically underdetermined by experience. This view highlights the cues that are available in the input to children, as well as childrens skills (...)
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  4. Meaning Before Truth.Paul M. Pietroski - 2005 - In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Contextualism in Philosophy: Knowledge, Meaning, and Truth. Oxford University Press.
     
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  5. The Character of Natural Language Semantics.Paul M. Pietroski - 2003 - In Alex Barber (ed.), Epistemology of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 217--256.
    Paul M. Pietroski, University of Maryland I had heard it said that Chomsky’s conception of language is at odds with the truth-conditional program in semantics. Some of my friends said it so often that the point—or at least a point—finally sunk in.
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  6.  33
    A Narrow Path From Meanings to Contents.Paul M. Pietroski - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
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  7. Concepts, Meanings and Truth: First Nature, Second Nature and Hard Work.Paul M. Pietroski - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (3):247-278.
    I argue that linguistic meanings are instructions to build monadic concepts that lie between lexicalizable concepts and truth-evaluable judgments. In acquiring words, humans use concepts of various adicities to introduce concepts that can be fetched and systematically combined via certain conjunctive operations, which require monadic inputs. These concepts do not have Tarskian satisfaction conditions. But they provide bases for refinements and elaborations that can yield truth-evaluable judgments. Constructing mental sentences that are true or false requires cognitive work, not just an (...)
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  8. Matters of Mind: Consciousness, Reason, and Nature.Paul M. Pietroski - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):488-491.
  9.  73
    Believing in Language.Susan Dwyer & Paul M. Pietroski - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (3):338-373.
    We propose that the generalizations of linguistic theory serve to ascribe beliefs to humans. Ordinary speakers would explicitly (and sincerely) deny having these rather esoteric beliefs about language--e.g., the belief that an anaphor must be bound in its governing category. Such ascriptions can also seem problematic in light of certain theoretical considerations having to do with concept possession, revisability, and so on. Nonetheless, we argue that ordinary speakers believe the propositions expressed by certain sentences of linguistic theory, and that linguistics (...)
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  10.  8
    Causing Actions.Paul M. Pietroski - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
    Paul Pietroski presents an original philosophical theory of actions and their mental causes. We often act for reasons: we deliberate and choose among options, based on our beliefs and desires. However, bodily motions always have biochemical causes, so it can seem that thinking and acting are biochemical processes. Pietroski argues that thoughts and deeds are in fact distinct from, though dependent on, underlying biochemical processes within persons.
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  11.  59
    Think of the Children.Paul M. Pietroski - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):657 – 669.
    Often, the deepest disagreements are about starting points, and which considerations are relevant.
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  12.  35
    Framing Event Variables.Paul M. Pietroski - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):31-60.
    Davidsonian analyses of action reports like ‘Alvin chased Theodore around a tree’ are often viewed as supporting the hypothesis that sentences of a human language H have truth conditions that can be specified by a Tarski-style theory of truth for H. But in my view, simple cases of adverbial modification add to the reasons for rejecting this hypothesis, even though Davidson rightly diagnosed many implications involving adverbs as cases of conjunct-reduction in the scope of an existential quantifier. I think the (...)
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  13. A Defense of Derangement.Paul M. Pietroski - 1994 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):95 - 117.
    In a recent paper, Bar-On and Risjord (henceforth, 'B&R') contend that Davidson provides no 1 good argument for his (in)famous claim that "there is no such thing as a language." And according to B&R, if Davidson had established his "no language" thesis, he would thereby have provided a decisive reason for abandoning the project he has long advocated--viz., that of trying to provide theories of meaning for natural languages by providing recursive theories of truth for such languages. For he would (...)
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  14. Fregean Innocence.Paul M. Pietroski - 1996 - Mind and Language 11 (4):338-370.
  15.  78
    Actions, Adjuncts, and Agency.Paul M. Pietroski - 1998 - Mind 107 (425):73-111.
    The event analysis of action sentences seems to be at odds with plausible (Davidsonian) views about how to count actions. If Booth pulled a certain trigger, and thereby shot Lincoln, there is good reason for identifying Booths' action of pulling the trigger with his action of shooting Lincoln; but given truth conditions of certain sentences involving adjuncts, the event analysis requires that the pulling and the shooting be distinct events. So I propose that event sortals like 'shooting' and 'pulling' are (...)
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  16.  81
    Small Verbs, Complex Events: Analyticity Without Synonymy.Paul M. Pietroski - 2003 - In Louise M. Antony (ed.), Chomsky and His Critics. Malden Ma: Blackwell. pp. 179--214.
  17. Mental Causation for Dualists.Paul M. Pietroski - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (3):336-366.
    The philosophical problem of mental causation concerns a clash between commonsense and scientific views about the causation of human behaviour. On the one hand, commonsense suggests that our actions are caused by our mental states—our thoughts, intentions, beliefs and so on. On the other hand, neuroscience assumes that all bodily movements are caused by neurochemical events. It is implausible to suppose that our actions are causally overdetermined in the same way that the ringing of a bell may be overdetermined by (...)
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  18. Character Before Content.Paul M. Pietroski - 2006 - In Judith Jarvis Thomson (ed.), Content and Modality: Themes From the Philosophy of Robert Stalnaker. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 34--60.
  19.  38
    Minimal Semantic Instructions.Paul M. Pietroski - 2011 - In Boeckx Cedric (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism. Oxford University Press. pp. 472-498.
    Chomsky’s (1995, 2000a) Minimalist Program (MP) invites a perspective on semantics that is distinctive and attractive. In section one, I discuss a general idea that many theorists should find congenial: the spoken or signed languages that human children naturally acquire and use— henceforth, human languages—are biologically implemented procedures that generate expressions, whose meanings are recursively combinable instructions to build concepts that reflect a minimal interface between the Human Faculty of Language (HFL) and other cognitive systems. In sections two and three, (...)
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  20.  18
    On Explaining That.Paul M. Pietroski - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (12):655.
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  21.  79
    On Explaining That.Paul M. Pietroski - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (12):655-662.
    How can a speaker can explain that P without explaining the fact that P, or explain the fact that P without explaining that P, even when it is true (and so a fact) that P? Or in formal mode: what is the semantic contribution of 'explain' such that 'She explained that P' can be true, while 'She explained the fact that P' is false (or vice versa), even when 'P' is true? The proposed answer is that 'explained' is a semantically (...)
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  22.  68
    Systematicity Via Monadicity.Paul M. Pietroski - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):343-374.
    Words indicate concepts, which have various adicities. But words do not, in general, inherit the adicities of the indicated concepts. Lots of evidence suggests that when a concept is lexicalized, it is linked to an analytically related monadic concept that can be conjoined with others. For example, the dyadic concept CHASE(_,_) might be linked to CHASE(_), a concept that applies to certain events. Drawing on a wide range of extant work, and familiar facts, I argue that the (open class) lexical (...)
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  23.  54
    Function and Concatenation.Paul M. Pietroski - 2002 - In Georg Peter & Gerhard Preyer (eds.), Logical Form and Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 91--117.
    Paul M. Pietroski, University of Maryland For any sentence of a natural language, we can ask the following questions: what is its meaning; what is its syntactic structure; and how is its meaning related to its syntactic structure? Attending to these questions, as they apply to sentences that provide evidence for Davidsonian event analyses, suggests that we reconsider some traditional views about how the syntax of a natural sentence is related to its meaning.
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  24. Why Language Acquisition is a Snap.Stephen Crain & Paul M. Pietroski - 2002 - Linguistic Review.
    Nativists inspired by Chomsky are apt to provide arguments with the following general form: languages exhibit interesting generalizations that are not suggested by casual (or even intensive) examination of what people actually say; correspondingly, adults (i.e., just about anyone above the age of four) know much more about language than they could plausibly have learned on the basis of their experience; so absent an alternative account of the relevant generalizations and speakers' (tacit) knowledge of them, one should conclude that there (...)
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  25.  40
    Interpreting Concatenation and Concatenates.Paul M. Pietroski - 2006 - Philosophical Issues 16 (1):221–245.
    This paper presents a slightly modified version of the compositional semantics proposed in Events and Semantic Architecture (OUP 2005). Some readers may find this shorter version, which ignores issues about vagueness and causal constructions, easier to digest. The emphasis is on the treatments of plurality and quantification, and I assume at least some familiarity with more standard approaches.
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  26.  26
    First-Person Authority and Beliefs as Representations.Paul M. Pietroski - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1):67-69.
  27.  29
    The Undeflated Domain of Semantics.Paul M. Pietroski - 2000 - SATS 1 (2):161.
  28. Innate Ideas.Paul M. Pietroski & Stephen Crain - 2005 - In James A. McGilvray (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 164--181.
    Here's one way this chapter could go. After defining the terms 'innate' and 'idea', we say whether Chomsky thinks any ideas are innate -- and if so, which ones. Unfortunately, we don't have any theoretically interesting definitions to offer; and, so far as we know, Chomsky has never said that any ideas are innate. Since saying that would make for a very short chapter, we propose to do something else. Our aim is to locate Chomsky, as he locates himself, in (...)
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  29.  12
    Describing I-Junction.Paul M. Pietroski - 2014 - ProtoSociology 31:121-137.
    The meaning of a noun phrase like ‘brown cow’, or ‘cow that ate grass’, is somehow conjunctive. But conjunctive in what sense? Are the meanings of other phrases—e.g, ‘ate quickly’, ‘ate grass’, and ‘at noon’—similarly conjunctive? I suggest a possible answer, in the context of a broader conception of natural language semantics. But my main aim is to highlight some underdiscussed questions and some implications of our ignorance.
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  30.  83
    Executing the Second Best Option.Paul M. Pietroski - 1994 - Analysis 54 (4):201-207.
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  31.  66
    Possible Worlds, Syntax, and Opacity.Paul M. Pietroski - 1993 - Analysis 53 (4):270 - 280.
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  32.  45
    Quantification and Second Order Monadicity.Paul M. Pietroski - 2003 - Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):259–298.
  33.  11
    Critical Notice.Paul M. Pietroski - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):613-636.
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  34.  3
    Quantification and Second-Order Quantification.Paul M. Pietroski - 2003 - Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):259--298.
  35. Experiencing the Facts (Critical Notice of McDowell).Paul M. Pietroski - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):613-36.
    The general topic of "Mind and World", the written version of John McDowell's 1991 John Locke Lectures, is how `concepts mediate the relation between minds and the world'. And one of the main aims is `to suggest that Kant should still have a central place in our discussion of the way thought bears on reality' (1).1 In particular, McDowell urges us to adopt a thesis that he finds in Kant, or perhaps in Strawson's Kant: the content of experience is conceptualized; (...)
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  36.  34
    A “Should” Too Many.Paul M. Pietroski - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (1):26-27.
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  37. Causing Actions.Paul M. Pietroski - 2000 - Philosophy 78 (303):128-132.
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  38.  8
    Fostering Liars.Paul M. Pietroski - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):5-25.
    Davidson conjectured that suitably formulated Tarski-style theories of truth can “do duty” as theories of meaning for the spoken languages that humans naturally acquire. But this conjecture faces a pair of old objections that are, in my view, fatal when combined. Foster noted that given any theory of the sort Davidson envisioned, for a language L, there will be many equally true theories whose theorems pair endlessly many sentences of L with very different specifications of whether or not those sentences (...)
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  39.  23
    Knowledge by Ignoring.Paul M. Pietroski & Susan J. Dwyer - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):781-781.
    Some cases of implicit knowledge involve representations of (implicitly) known propositions, but this is not the only important type of implicit knowledge. Chomskian linguistics suggests another model of how humans can know more than is accessible to consciousness. Innate capacities to focus on a small range of possibilities, thereby ignoring many others, need not be grounded by inner representations of any possibilities ignored. This model may apply to many domains where human cognition “fills a gap” between stimuli and judgment.
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  40.  15
    Mind and World.Paul M. Pietroski - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):613-636.
  41.  3
    Précis of Conjoining Meanings.Paul M. Pietroski - 2020 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):271-282.
    In Conjoining Meanings, I argue that meanings are composable instructions for how to build concepts of a special kind. In this summary of the main line of argument, I stress that proposals about what linguistic meanings are should make room for the phenomenon of lexical polysemy. On my internalist proposal, a single lexical item can be used to access various concepts on different occasions of use. And if lexical items are often “conceptually equivocal” in this way, then some familiar arguments (...)
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  42. Specifying Senses Innocently1.Paul M. Pietroski - 1997 - In Dunja Jutronic (ed.), The Maribor Papers in Naturalized Semantics. Maribor. pp. 318.
     
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