Emma Borg                                                                                                        

Professor of Philosophy                 

University of Reading                                                                                            See my CV



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Emma Borg joined the Department in 1998, having taken her M.Phil and Ph.D at University College London.  Her thesis was entitled 'Noun Phrases: the nature of reference and ambiguity' and looked at how we determine semantic allegiance for object words.  A brief introduction to some of the aspects of the philosophy of language in which she is interested can be found in her article 'The Name Game', in The Philosophers' Magazine, 15 (Summer 2001).  She regularly lectures on philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and epistemology. She has also given courses on critical thinking and Descartes.  From 2006-2009 she was on leave, primarily as a recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize, which enabled her to work on a second monograph, Pursuing Meaning (OUP 2012).
  • This May Emma will be speaking at HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival. Alongside philosopher and theologian Mark Vernon, musician and poet Penny Rimbaud, and sociologist and radio presenter Laurie Taylor, she will be taking part in The Voice of Silence, a debate asking whether silence alone might be able to reveal some parts of reality to us. She will also be speaking on the perhaps surprising similarities between human and animal minds in a talk “Planet of the Apes”. For more info head to www.howthelightgetsin.org

  • Since January 2013, I have been Director of the Centre for Cognition Research at Reading. Read the Centre's blog.
  • From September 2009 - December 2012 I served as Head of the Philosophy Department at Reading.
  • From end of March - June 2011, I was the White Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago, USA.
  • Listen to me talking about language and context on Philosophy Bites.
  • Listen to me talking about minimal semantics on Elucidations..
  • Watch a short video of me at the Northern Institute of Philosophy here.


  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Cognitive Science
  • Epistemology


Pursuing Meaning (2012). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.1-234.

Chinese translation (forthcoming), L. Liu, Fudan University Press.

Reviews of Pursuing Meaning:

  • Allyson Mount, 2012, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, here.
  • Kasia Djarv, 2013, Metapsychology, here.
  • Nick Fotion, Analysis, here.
  • Manuel Garcia-Carpintero, 2013, Mind, here.
  • John Collins, 2013, Review of Metaphysics, here.



Minimal Semantics (2004). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.1-288.

Reviews of Minimal Semantics:
  • Stephen Pulman, The Times Higher Education Supplement, 7th Oct. 2005, p.30.
  • Katarzyna Jaszczolt, 2005, The Journal of Linguistics 41: 637-42 (available on her publications page here)
  • Kent Bach, 2007, The Philosophical Review 116: 303-306 (available on his publications page here).
  • Lenny Clapp, 2007, Mind 116: 396-402.
  • Anne Bezuidenhout, 2008, Philosophical Books 49: 59-63.
  • Robyn Carston, 2008, Mind and Language 23: 359-367



Meaning and Representation (2002). Oxford: Blackwell. pp.1-117. Editor's introduction, pp.1-4.



1.    'More questions for mirror neurons' (2013), Consciousness and Cognition 22: 1122-1131.


2.    'Semantics without pragmatics' (2012) in The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics, edited by K. Allen and K. Jaszczolt. Cambridge: CUP.       



3.    'Minimalism and the content of the lexicon' (2010). In Meaning and Context, ed. L. Baptista and E. Rach. Bern: Peter Lang. 51-78.


4.    'The place of referential intentions in linguistic content' (2009), Manuscrito 32: 85-122. Special edition on semantics/pragmatics.


5.    ‘Must a semantic minimalist be a semantic internalist?’ (2009), This is an electronic version of a paper published in Proceedings of the      

        Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume LXXXIII: 31-51. Posting of the published paper on any other electronic public server may only be

        done with prior written permission from The Aristotelain Society.


6.    Meaning and context: a survey of a contemporary debate’ (2009). In The Later Wittgenstein on Language, ed. D. Whiting. Palgrave. 96-113.


7.    Minimal semantics and the nature of psychological evidence’ (2009). In New Waves in Philosophy of Language, ed. S. Sawyer.        

       Palgrave. 24-40.


8.    'Semantic minimalism’ (2009). In The Pragmatics Encyclopedia, ed. L. Cummings. Routledge. 423-5.


9.    On three theories of implicature: Default Theory, Relevance and Minimalism’ (2009), International Review of Pragmatics 1: 1-21. This paper is to be reprinted in Meaning and Analysis: Themes from H. Paul Grice, ed. K. Petrus (Palgrave), and Pragmatics: Critical Concepts II, ed. A. Kasher (Routledge).


10.    'If mirror neurons are the answer, what was the question?' (2007), Journal of Consciousness Studies 14: 5-19.


11.    'Minimalism versus Contextualism in semantics' (2007), in G. Preyer and G. Peter (eds) Context Sensitivity and Semantic

       Minimalism : Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. 546-571. To be reprinted in M.


12.    ‘Pragmatic determinants of what is said’ (2005), The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition. K. Brown (Editor in   

       Chief). Oxford: Elsevier. 737-40.


13.    'Formal Semantics and Intentional States' (2004), Analysis 64, 215-23.


14.   'Intention-based Semantics' (2005) in E. Lepore & B. Smith (eds) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford:

       Oxford University Press, 250-267.


15.    'Saying What You Mean: unarticulated constituents and communication' (2005) in R. Elugardo & R. Stainton (eds) Ellipsis and

       Non-sentential Speech. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 237-262.


16.  'The Semantic Relevance of What is Said' (2002), Protosociology 17: Semantic theory and reported speech, 6-24.


17.   'Pointing at Jack, Talking About Jill: Understanding Deferred Uses of Demonstratives and Pronouns' (2002), Mind and

       Language 17, 489-512.


18.    'Natural Language and Symbolic Logic’, co-authored with Prof. E. Lepore (2002) in The Blackwell Companion to Symbolic Logic,

      ed. D. Jacquette. Oxford: Blackwell. 86-102


19.    'An Expedition Abroad: Metaphor, Thought and Reporting' (2001) in P. French & H. Wettstein (eds) Midwest Studies in

       Philosophy XXV. Oxford: Blackwell. 227-248.


20.   'Deferred Demonstratives' (2002) in Meaning and Truth: Investigations in Philosophical Semantics, eds Campbell, O’Rourke, Shier.

       New York: Seven Bridges Press. 214-230.


21.   'The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Singular Terms' (2001), Philosophical Papers 30, 1-30.


22.   'Complex Demonstratives' (2000), Philosophical Studies 97, 229-249.


23.   'Semantic Category and Surface Form' (1998), Analysis 58, 232-238.


i.     F. Recanati, Truth-Conditional Pragmatics, The Times Literary Supplement, February 2012.

ii.    M. Devitt and Hanley, R (eds). The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Language, Philosophy in Review 27: 18-20 (2007).

iii.    R.M. Sainsbury, Reference Without Referents, Ratio XIX (September 2006), 370-375.

iv.    R. Millikan, Language: A Biological Model, The Times Literary Supplement, April 2006.

v.    F. Recanati, Literal Meaning, Mind (2006), 461-465.

vi.   A. Berger, Terms and Truth: Reference direct and anaphoric, Mind (2004), 737-740.

vii.  J. King, Complex Demonstratives, Mind and Language (2003), 546-551.

viii.  M. Huemer, Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, Philosophical Books (2002), 307-8.

ix.   P. Horwich, Meaning, The Philosophical Review 110 (2001), 101-4.

x.    M. Luntley, Contemporary Theories of Thought, Mind 109 (2000), 969-73.

xi.   Greco & Sosa, ed. The Blackwell Guide to EpistemologyPhilosophical Books 41:2 (2000), 126-7.

xii.  G. Ostertag, ed. Definite Descriptions: a reader, in Philosophy in Review 19 (1999), 278-80.



Course information for modules I teach can be found on 'Blackboard'. Log in with your Reading University user name and password.


e.mail:                           e.g.n.borg@rdg.ac.uk

Departmental Tel.           +44-(0)118-378 8325/8151

Departmental Fax.           +44-(0)118-378 8295

Page last updated: July 2013.

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