Books Published and Forthcoming

I: The Meaning of the First Person Term
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006)

I is the most widely misunderstood of our essential everyday expressions. The book aims to offer a philosophical remedy for the resulting confusion by explaining what I means—the logical character of the term, its inferential role, referential function, expressive use and communicative role. On the way, the book dissolves various false doctrines supporting the standard view that I is a pure indexical. The central claims are that I is a deictic term, like the other singular personal pronouns (You and He/ She), and that the key to understanding such terms lies in appreciating the ways their reference depends on making an individual salient. 
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Hilary Putnam
(McGill-Queens University Press / Acumen, 2006)

Hilary Putnam has had a dramatic influence on theories of meaning, semantic content, the nature of mental phenomena, on interpretations of quantum mechanics, theory-change, logic, mathematics, and on what shape we should desire for future philosophy. The diversity of his writings and his frequent spells of radical rethinking pose a considerable challenge to readers. This book aims to overcome these difficulties by offering a critical evaluation of the whole of Putnam’s career and setting it in the historical context of the development of analytic philosophy post-1945. It reveals a basic unity in Putnam’s work, achieved through repeated engagements with a small set of hard problems, all of which stem from the need to account for the intentionality of thought and language. 

 

John McDowell
(Blackwell / Polity Press, 2004)

The guiding argument of the book is that the variety of John McDowell’s philosophical interests disguises a core concern with a single basic goal: ‘giving philosophy peace’. Philosophy has always struggled with the question of how our experience of the world gives rational support to what we think and say. McDowell claims that philosophy has itself to blame if these questions seem problematic, and this book’s animating purpose is to provide a critical evaluation of his claim. In McDowell’s view, the illusion that our fundamental relations with the world are truly problematic is traceable to false views about nature. We should give proper weight to a natural fact about the world: that human beings are of a kind that is naturally placed within the natural order. 
 

 

 

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