"Methodology in Generative Linguistics: Scratching below the Surface" [Paper]
"Notational Variants and Invariance in Linguistics" [Paper]
"Maps, Languages and Manguages: Rival Cognitive Architectures?" [Paper]
Forthcoming, "A Lot of Data", Philosophy of Science. [Paper]
A natural type of strategy for explicitly estimating the
size of a linguistic data set fails; a subsequent theorem
generalizes this impossibility in multiple ways.
2011, "Quantitative Realizations of Philosophy of Science:
William Whewell and Statistical Methods", Studies in History and
Philosophy of Science 42, 399 - 409. [Paper]
An examination of William Whewell's (1794 - 1866)
philosophy of science from the perspective of contemporary
“Answering a Question with the Wrong Statistics”, The Work
Style Magazine, #5, October 2010, p. 17. [Paper]
An informal consideration of how such simple errors as
"Simpson's Paradox" can occur in everyday life.
2009a, “On Failing to Capture Some (or Even All) of What is
Communicated”, Context, Compositionality, and Semantic
Value (Robert Stainton and Chris Viger, eds.) New York:
Springer-Verlag, 129 – 44. [Paper]
Examination of the logical role of residuals in
statistical and linguistic theorizing
2009b, “The Need for Explicit Inferential Methods in
Linguistics”, Language and Linguistics: Emerging Trends
(Cynthia R. Dreyer, ed.) New York: Nova Science,
pp. 193 – 208. [Paper]
Inferences in theoretical linguistics typically take the
form of qualitative and holistic professional judgments.
However, it is well-known that in much less complex
situations, such judgments are usually less accurate than
professionals believe, and are outperformed by crude but
explicit inferential methods.
2008a, “Reply to Philipona and O’Regan”, Visual
Neuroscience 25:2, 221 – 224. (with Wayne Wright) [Paper]
An examination of the
intrinsically multivariate nature of lexical semantics, and
the relevance of such research to philosophy.
Mind and Language 22:4, 366 – 401. [Paper]
By extracting some ubiquitous
aspects of scientific methodology from their typically
quantitative expression, two recent critiques of linguistics
are shown to be ill-founded. But some important divergences
between the methods of linguistics and the other ordinary
sciences are uncovered.
“Tacit and accessible understanding of language”, Synthese
156: 253 – 279. [Paper]
Experimental study of subjects'
relative awareness of semantic and syntactic features. A
spectrum of appropriate tacit/accessible distinctions are
available and appropriate.
Wayne Wright), Erkenntnis
64 139 – 168. [Paper]
Much debate in the philosophy
of color is wrong-headed. For science, colors may be
regarded simply as corresponding to latent variables in a
model of the data. Many philosophical issues have
straightforward but nontrivial empirical constraints that
should be addressed before the philosophizing.
Erkenntnis 64, 37 – 60.[Paper]
The general claim that language
is 'reverse compositional - i.e., you can't understand
“brown hat” without understanding “hat” is a false
generalization about human languages. The underlying grain
of truth about it has to do with sentence processing, not
linguistic theory per se.
Protosociology 22: Contemporary
Problems in Cognitive Science. [Paper]
are like psychophysical and statistical models in exploiting
formal structure that doesn't represent anything in the
empirical subject of study. Examination of recent attempts
to justify theories of knowledge-how by appeal to linguistic
Philosophy of Science 71, 571 – 592. [Paper]
(An earlier abbreviated version is to appear in Proceedings
of the Chicago
Examination of the logic of
Gold’s Theorem and its proof. Presentation and analysis of
many inaccurate claims about the theorem, followed with an
interpretation and assessment of it.
2004b, “On the Systematicity of Language and Thought” The
of Philosophy CI:3, 111 – 139. [Paper]
Any characterization of
systematicity must employ some notion of linguistic
categories. Current linguistic theory does not supply the
categories needed to make sense of systematicity.
Mind and Language 19:3, 334 – 358. [Paper]
for avoiding positing structure and processing in the
lexicon are shown to be faulty. The relation between words
and concepts is less straightforward than is sometimes
2004d, “Tacit Belief, Semantics, and
Grammar”, Linguistics and Philosophy 27, 57 – 91. [Paper]
Our awareness of
(unpronounced) semantic features of language and our lack of
awareness of (unpronounced) syntactic features of our
language are both highly robust. The strength of this
distinction supports several claims about the cognitive
organization of language and thought.
“Knowledge and Semantic Competence”, I Niiniluoto, M. Sintonen
and J. Wolenski (eds.) The Handbook of
Kluwer (with Ernie Lepore). [Paper]
Review of major positions regarding knowledge of language.
2003, “Are There Semantic Natural Kinds of Words?”, Mind and Language 18:2, 175 - 193.
Replies to two of Evans’
arguments for individuating semantic natural kinds of words.
The linguistic details of the replies induce a positive
theory of these kinds.
2002, “Does syntax reveal semantics? A case study of complex
demonstratives”, in J. Tomberlin (ed.) Philosophical
Perspectives 16, 17 – 41 (with Ernie Lepore). Early
version available as RutgersCenter for Cognitive
Science Technical Report TR-69. [Paper]
Syntactic evidence shows complex
demonstratives are determiners, but not obviously also
quantifiers. Syntax and semantics may not track each other
perfectly in natural languages.
1997, “Luck and Good Fortune in the Eudemian
Ethics”, Ancient Philosophy, Vol. 17,
pp. 85-102. [Paper]
Aristotle’s physical discussion
of tuchê (‘luck’) and eutuchia (‘good fortune’)
supports a unified interpretation of Aristotle’s ethical
discussion of these terms, in contrast to Kenny’s
Reviews, Dictionary Entries, etc.
Review of Paul Pietroski Events and Semantic Architecture,
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews [Paper]
Entries for Keith Donnellan, Zelig Harris, Jerrold Katz, Terence
Parsons, Brian Skyrms, Zeno Vendler. Dictionary of American
Philosophers. Thommes Press. [Entries]
“Review of David Cockburn, An introduction to the philosophy
of mind”, Philosophy in Review, Vol. 22, no. 2,
pp. 108-110. [Paper]
“Review of Paul Grice, Aspects of Reason”, Australasian
Journal of Philosophy 80:3, 381 – 383. [Paper]