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ADDRESS Queens University, Dept. of Philosophy (613) 548-7944 (home)

Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 (613) 533-2182 (office)

CANADA (613) 533-6545 (FAX)
PERSONAL July 30, 1958, in Ottawa, Canada. Canadian citizen.

Mother of Olivier (born 1996) & Antoine (born 1998).

LANGUAGES Fluent in French, English, Spanish, Catalan.

Reading or elementary competence in Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese.

Ph.D. Philosophy UCLA, 1992
Dissertation title: Linguistic Competence, Convention and Authority:

Individualism and Anti-Individualism in Linguistics and Philosophy
C.Phil. Linguistics UCLA, satisfied Ph.D. requirements 1990 (all but dissertation)

M.A. Linguistics UCLA, 1988

M.A. Philosophy UCLA, 1983

M.A. Philosophy University of Ottawa, 1981

B.A. Philosophy & University of Ottawa, 1979 Magna Cum Laude

Political Theory

Philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, related issues in metaphysics & epistemology.

Natural language semantics.

Philosophy of linguistics, foundational issues in theoretical linguistics.

Logic, mathematical linguistics, formal semantics, (generative) syntactic theory.

History of analytic philosophy.

General linguistics, history of linguistics.

Modern philosophy (esp. Descartes, Locke, Hume).

Ethics (esp. Kant, Rawls, Contractarianism).

History of political philosophy (esp. Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke).

1995 Best Paper Selection of Program Committee at American Philosophical Association meeting

for A Perverse Case of the Contingent A Priori

1992 Queen's National Scholar


2002-2003 Spain: Government Research Fellowship

2002 Spain: Government Travel Award

2002 Catalunya: Generalitat Research Fellowship (declined)

1999-2001 Queen's: Office of Research Services Research Grant

1994-1998 Canada: Research Council (SSHRCC) Standard Research Grant

1994,98,01 Queens: Advisory Research Committee Travel Grant

1992-1994 Canada: Research Council (SSHRCC) Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship

1991-1992 France: Government Research Fellowship

1981-1991 UCLA: Graduate Fellowship

1981 Frank Knox Graduate Award for Study at Harvard (declined)

1981-1985 Canada: Research Council (SSHRCC) Doctoral Fellowship

1979-1981 Ontario: Graduate Scholarship Award

2002: L'homme et la factrice: Sur la logique du genre. In Dialogue, VOL. XLI, No. 3 (45 ms. pages).

1998: On Communication-Based De Re Thought, Commitments De Dicto, and Word-

Individuation. In Philosophy and Linguistics (ed. R. Stainton), Westview Press (37 ms. pages).

1996: A Perverse Case of the Contingent A Priori: On the Logic of Emasculating Language (A Reply to

Dawkins and Dummett). In Philosophical Topics (special ed. S. Haslanger), Arkansas University Press (52 ms. pages).

1995: La discrimination positive change de genre. In Le Devoir, Part I: Aug 4; Part II: Aug 5-6 (8 ms. pages).

1994: Consumerism and Language Acquisition. In Linguistics and Philosophy, Vol.17, No 5, pp. 499-519

(29 ms. pages).

1993: Normativism and the Mental: A Problem of Language Individuation. In Philosophical Studies,

Vol.72, No 1, pp.71-88 (25 ms. pages).

1981: Carnap on External Questions: A Contextualist Vindication. In De Philosophia, Vol.2, pp.1-13

(15 ms. pages).


1999: Dogmatic Scepticism, Cynicism, and the There-Is-No-Such-Thing-As-Truth Syndrome. Wed-based

article in SiteStreet, an on-line journal of art, criticism and ideas: (6 ms. pages)

1997: Review of E. Corazza, Référence, Contexte et Attitudes, Bellarmin-Vrin. Solicited by

Dialogue, Vol. XXXVII, No 1 (5 ms. pages).

2002: Conventions, Convergence and the Metaphysics of Words: It's Shirt-Buttoning All the Way Down, Ruth! (23 ms. pages).

2002: Analyticity, Intentionality and Necessity: The Case about Gay Marriage (39 ms. pages)

2002: What is a Word? (26 ms. pages)


2001: Expert witness for petitioners in Egale v. Canada (A.G.)

Affidavit on the notion of word-meaning: Filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia

In the matter of Applications for Licences by Persons of the Same Sex who Intend to Marry; and in the matter of The Marriage Act and The Judicial Review Procedure Act (Vancouver Registry No. L001944; L002698; L003197), August (60 pages).

2001: Expert witness for applicants in Halpern v. Canada (A.G.)

Affidavit on the notion of word-meaning: Filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice

(Court files 684/00, 30/2001), November (31 pages).

1992: Linguistic Competence, Convention and Authority: Individualism and Anti-Individualism in

Linguistics and Philosophy. PhD dissertation (Phil.), UCLA University Archives (247 pages).

1988: On Rule Ordering Paradoxes in Morphology: A Semantic Alternative to the Level Ordering Hypothesis.

MA thesis (Ling.), UCLA University Archives (70 pages).

Natural Kind Terms VS Social Kind Terms

2003 Third Barcelona Workshop on Reference, Barcelona, Spain, Jun

What is a Word? On Kaplan on Words and Onwards

2000 CPA (Canadian Philosophical Assoc.) meeting, Québec, Jun 1

Un cas particulièrement pervers de la priori contingent

1997 Conférence Internationale de la Société de Philosophie Analytique, Université de Caen, France, May 24

Are Quotas Inherently Evil? Affirmative Action, Diversity and Merit

1996 CSWIP (Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy) meeting, Kingston, Oct 27

A Perverse Case of the Contingent A Priori

1995 CPA meeting, Montréal, Jun 3

1995 APA (American Philosophical Assoc.) meeting, Pacific Division, San Francisco, Mar 31

Metasemantics, Consumerism and the Historical Chain

1994 APA meeting, Pacific Division, Los Angeles, Mar 31

Normativism and the Mental

1993 International Conference on Meaning, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Sep 6

Naming in Subjectivist Semantics

1993 CPA meeting, Ottawa, Jun 21

Quelles leçons doit-on tirer des expériences de pensée terres-jumelles?

1993 ESAP (European Society for Analytic Philosophy), Aix-en-Provence, Apr 27

La notion de langage communautaire dans l'individualisme linguistique de Chomsky

1991 CPA meeting, Kingston, May 28

A Semantic Alternative to the Level Ordering Hypothesis

1988 LSA (Linguistic Society of America) meeting, New Orleans, Dec 28,

Analyticity, Intentionality and Necessity: The Case about Gay Marriage

2003 Dubrovnik Conference, International Center, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Apr 16

What is a Word?

2002 LOGOS Language Workshop, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Dec 12

On Conventions and Word-Individuation

2001 International Conference on Mental Phenomena, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Sep 3

Whence Sexism in Grammar?: Surprising Contrasts between French and English

2000 Conference on Analytic Feminism, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mar 31

One of three invited guest speakers (with Louise Anthony and Ann Kudd)

Tense: Quantification, Anaphora & Indexicality

1998 CPA (Canadian Philosophical Association) meeting, Ottawa, May 30

Quest-ce que le français sinon du mauvais latin? (Proust)

1995 CPA meeting, Round table: Langage, Convention et Société, Montréal, Jun 5

Two Concepts of Belief: Commentary on Michel Seymour

1995 International Conference on Consciousness & Intentionality, Montréal, Jun 5

Indicator Semantics on Colour & the Emotions: Commentary on Mohan Matthen

1994 Conference on Complex Representations: Indicator Semantics in Cognitive Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Mar 19

Wherein Is Language Social in "Wherein Is Language Social?" ?

1993 Paris Conference on the Nature of Language, CNRS, Oct 28

Natural Kind Terms VS Social Kind Terms

2003 University of Rijeka, Dept of Philosophy, Croatia, Apr 12

Analyticity and the Case about Gay Marriage

2002 Queen's University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Jan 17

What is a Word?

2003 Universitat de Barcelona, LOGOS --Logic, Language and Cognition Research Group, Feb 5

2000 University of Western Ontario, Dept of Philosophy, London, Mar 10

2000 University of British Columbia, Dept of Philosophy, Vancouver, Jan 28

1999 Queen's University, Language and Linguistics Research Group, Kingston, Nov 26

1999 Queens University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Oct 7

1999 Arizona State University, Dept of Philosophy,Tempe, Feb 19

Reference and Semantic Creationism: Are the Thoughts of English Speakers Causally Connected to English?

1999 York University, Dept of Philosophy, Toronto, Apr 2

Pourquoi Chomsky?: Fonctionalisme, structuralisme et générativisme en linguistique scientifique

1998 Université de Montréal, Dépt de Linguistique, Montréal, Apr 9

A Perverse Case of the Contingent A Priori

1998 UCLA, Dept of Linguistics, Los Angeles, Mar 26

1996 University of Western Ontario, Dept of Philosophy, London Ont., Dec 18

1994 Carleton University, Dept of Philosophy, Ottawa, Nov 25

1994 Queen's University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Sep 22

On Kaplan on Words and Onwards on Words

1998 York University, Dept of Philosophy, Toronto, Mar 5

1998 University of Waterloo, Dept of Philosophy, Waterloo, Feb 27

1997 Concordia University, Dept of Philosophy, Montréal, Nov 28

The Difference of Chomsky and the Difference it Makes (Part II), Or:

Whos Afraid of the Big Bad WFFs?

1998 Queens University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Feb 4

The Difference of Chomsky and the Difference it Makes, Or: What Chomsky-Bashers Always Dont Know about Syntax But Are too Arrogant to Ask (A Reply to Shanker)

1998 Queens University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Jan 22

On Communication-Based De Re Thought: Considerations on the Semantics and Metasemantics of Naming

1995 McGill University, Dept of Philosophy, Montréal, Nov 10

1995 Queens University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Nov 2

1995 University of Western Ontario, Dept of Philosophy, London, Oct 27

Quest-ce quun langage?

1994 Queen's University, Linguistics Program, Dept of French Studies, Kingston, Nov 8

commentary on R. Stalnaker, Reference and Necessity

1994 Queen's University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Nov 4

Having Aristotle in Mind: A New Old Theory of Reference

1994 Stanford University, CSLI (Center for Studies in Language and Information), Apr 28

An Autonomous Theory of Naming

1994 UCLA, Linguistics & Philosophy Workshop, Los Angeles, Mar 8

1993 Queen's University, Dept of Philosophy, Kingston, Aug 30

Normativism and Language Individuation

1992 CREA (Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée), CNRS, Paris, Apr 23

1992 Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Dept of Philosophy, Blacksburg, Feb 26

1992 SUNY (State University of New York), Dept of Philosophy, Albany, Feb 3

1992 University of Ottawa, Dept of Philosophy, Jan 31

1992 Queen's University, Kingston, Dept of Philosophy, Jan 29

1992 University of Arizona, Dept of Philosophy, Tucson, Jan 23

1992 University of Washington, Dept of Philosophy, Seattle, Jan 20

1992 UCLA, Dept of Philosophy, Los Angeles, Jan 17

1992 University of Michigan, Dept of Philosophy, Ann Arbor, Jan 10

Innateness and Conceptual Content

1992 UCLA, Dept of Linguistics, Los Angeles, Jan 17

Conventionalisme et théorie linguistique

1991 Université de Montréal, Dépt de Philosophie, Montréal, Aug 20

On Saussure and Chomsky: West Coast Semantics Meets East Coast Syntax

1991 University of Toronto, Dept of Philosophy, Jan 29

Descartes, Locke and Chomsky on Innate Ideas: Psychologism and Externalism about Mental Content

1990 UCLA, Cognitive Revolution Series, Los Angeles, Mar 1

What on Earth Do You Mean by Sofa'?

1989 UCLA, Dept of Philosophy, Graduate Colloquium, Los Angeles, Apr 13

What Philosophers Learn from Linguistics

1989 UCLA, Dept of Philosophy, Graduate Colloquium, Los Angeles

Morphology and Semantics: Pesetsky reconsidered

1988 UCLA, Dept of Linguistics, Syntax and Semantics Workshop, Los Angeles, Nov 16

Queens University
1999-present Dept. of Philosophy

Associate Professor

(Granted tenure Jul 1999)

1994-1999 Assistant Professor (Hired S 1992)

(On post-doc leave 1992-1994;

On leave at UCLA: W 1995, W 1996, W 1997, 1998-1999)

1998-present Language and Linguistics program


Philosophy and Linguistics project

1994-1998 Primary Researcher: Research group on Semantics for Natural Language

Universitat de Barcelona
2002-2003 LOGOS Logic, Language & Cognition Research Group

Dept de Lògica, Història i Filosofia de la Ciència,

Visiting professor
2001 Supreme Court of British Columbia

Expert Witness (Pro Bono)
Vancouver Registry No. L002698:

PETITIONERS: Egale Canada Inc.,et al;

RESPONDENTS: The Attorney General of Canada

The Attorney General of British Columbia

The Director of Vital Statistics for British Columbia

Vancouver Registry No. L003197:

PETITIONERS: D.Barbeau and E.Barbeau, P.Cook and M.Warren, J.Hamilton and J.Masuhara;

RESPONDENTS: The Attorney General of British Columbia

The Attorney General of Canada
2001 Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court)

Expert Witness (Pro Bono)
Court file No. 684/00

APPLICANTS: Halpern et al.

RESPONDENTS: Canada (Attorney General) et al.

Court file No. 30/2001

APPLICANT: Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

RESPONDENTS: Canada (Attorney General) et al.

UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles)
Linguistics Department

1998-1999 Visiting Scholar

1995 Winter Visiting Scholar

1989-1991 Research Assistant & Field Studies: Anaphora in Malayo-Polynesian Languages

1989-1990 Teaching Fellow

Philosophy Department

1997 Winter Visiting Scholar

1996 Winter Visiting Scholar

1994 Fall Visiting Assistant Professor

1992 Fall Visiting Assistant Professor

1982-1988 Teaching Assistant & Teaching Fellow

Stanford University
CSLI (Center for Studies in Language & Information)

1993 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

France: CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
CREA (Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée)

1993 Research Associate: Research group on cognition

1991-1992 Post-Doctoral Research Associate: Research group on cognition
Seiko Instruments Inc., Seiko Translation Project

1988 Translator: French-English/Spanish-English

University of Ottawa, Dept. of Philosophy

1980 Instructor: Symbolic Logic

1979-1980 English-French Translator: Russell, Lectures on Logical Atomism

2001-present PhD Candidate Mark Smith

2001-02 MA Philip Kuchar MA Phil 2002; PhD 2003- ( )

1994-1999 PhD Arthur Sullivan PhD 1999; Post-Doc 2002-04 (Rutgers, NYU)

Winner: best graduate paper at 1997 CPA Meeting.

1997-1999 Post-Doc Manuela Ungureanu PhD 1997 (McGill); C.Phil 1992 (Oxford)

1994 Post-Doc Richard Vallée Post-Doc 1993 (Stanford); PhD 1991 (UQTR)

TEACHING EXPERIENCE ( + = Graduate Course, or cross-listed as Graduate Course)
Metaphysics and Epistemology

Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Frege, Russell, Quine, Putnam, et al.

Philosophy of Language and Mind

+ Survey course from Frege & Russell to Quine, Kripke, Putnam, Burge, Donnellan, Kaplan, etc.

+ Current Issues in Philosophy of Language: Kripke, Evans & Donnellan On the Contingent A Priori

+ Special Topics in Philosophy of Language and Mind: Chomsky, Wittgenstein et al. on What a Language Is
Philosophy of Mind

+ Locke, Russell, etc. On Acquaintance and Understanding

+ Formal Philosophy & Semantic Theory: Mathematical Linguistics, Montague Grammar, Formal Semantics, ...

Symbolic Logic I: Propositional and Monadic Predicate Logic

+ Symbolic Logic II: Polyadic Predicate, Modal & Non-classical Logics, Metalogic

Perspectives on Philosophy: Modernism and Post-modernism in Philosophy (for advanced Honours students)

Introduction to philosophy:

Great Works of Philosophy: Selections from Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Frege, Kripke

As Teaching Fellow/Assistant

+ Mathematical Backgrounds for Linguists

Symbolic Logic I

Critical Reasoning

Introduction to Linguistics

Historical Introduction to Ethics

Philosophy in Literature

Scepticism and Rationality

Philosophy of Mind

Philosophy of Psychology

Philosophy of Religion

Contemporary Moral Issues
Committee: Keith Donnellan, Dept. of Philosophy, UCLA, Chair

David Kaplan, Dept. of Philosophy, UCLA

Edward Stabler, Dept. of Linguistics, UCLA

Nina Hyams, Dept. of Linguistics, UCLA

Paul Schachter, Dept. of Linguistics, UCLA

Tyler Burge, Dept. of Philosophy, UCLA

My dissertation was inspired by two so-called revolutions in conceptions of language that have occurred in the latter half of the twentieth century (actually, each have historical antecedents dating as far back as Plato). One originates in the new theory of grammar initiated by Chomsky. The other results from the new theory of reference now well-established in Anglo-American philosophy, prominent contributors to which include Burge, Donnellan, Kaplan, Kripke and Putnam. Both are of capital importance to our understanding of the mental. However, both appear to yield conclusions about the mental that are mutually inconsistent.

The revolutionary import of the new theory of reference is the supplanting of (subjectively individuated) ideational and behavioral theories of meaning (for example, those of Cartesians and of Locke) by theories of objective reference. This, in turn, has been interpreted by some as leading to the replacement of individualist theories of conceptual content by externalist theories of mind.

Two central tenets of externalist theories of word (or concept) individuation are: the claim that some terms (or concepts) derive their meaning (or content) from causal connections to the world (natural kind terms); and the claim that some terms (or concepts) derive them from intentional commitments to a linguistic community (social kind terms and other terms).

In my dissertation, I try to show that these claims are fundamentally different, and to spell out the normativist conception of language underlying the latter claim -- the more properly communalist claim. I argue that it is ultimately this normativism (the idea that learning a language is plugging oneself into a network of social norms) which motivates reliance on a principle of literal interpretation in interpreting ascriptions of belief and other intentional states.

However, neither normativism nor literal interpretation find any articulation under a Chomskian conception of language. While most current discussions of the mental in philosophy are dominated by anti-individualism (the view that an individual's mental states cannot be characterized in isolation from the linguistic community to which the individual belongs), the Chomskian program in linguistics, I contend, has moved towards a radically individualistic conception of language and of mind. The revolutionary essence of the Chomskian program consists in providing the groundwork for a more-than-nominal distinction between the idiolect and the social language, and in establishing the ontological reality of the former and the pure ideality of the latter. In doing so, the Chomskian paradigm has all but done away with the notion of literal interpretation (at least as standardly understood).

Language identifiability is a necessary condition for the feasibility of the principle of literal interpretation postulated by normativist theories. This condition grounds an important distinction between cases of deference to science (to a communal enterprise seeking knowledge of the world) and cases of deference to communal norms. For while our shared commitments to science are a function of our sharing the same world, and thus transcend language communities, commitments to linguistic norms differ essentially across language communities. Thus we must distinguish crucially between those thought-experiments whose anti-individualist conclusions are due to causal interaction with the world and those whose conclusions derive from an individual's commitment to (arbitrary, linguistic) communal norms. The problem of concept individuation, which communalism seeks to solve by appeal to a commitment to norms, merely resurfaces as the problem of individuating linguistic communities. What makes a community mean what it means, or have the concepts it has? What are the criteria of individuation of equivalence classes for norms?

The relevance of the Chomskian program to philosophical views has been, I believe, underestimated. Chomskian theory has contributed much to the imposition of constraints which must be satisfied by all language centered approaches to the mental. These constraints include a responsibility to provide theories that are at least consistent with explanatory models of language acquisition and of language change. In my dissertation, I argue that the conception of language acquisition implicit in the normativist approach to language leaves unexplained (and inexplicable) the most distinguishing characteristic of natural (as opposed to formal) languages, namely the fact that they are constantly changing. I argue that a subjectivist account such as that derivable from Chomskian assumptions fares better in this regard.

The subjectivist view is more explanatory in other ways also. It is potentially capable of accounting for the fact that while most words naturally undergo semantic shifts, proper names typically do not. In accounting for this difference in diachronic behaviour, the subjectivist position affords an important insight into the theoretical success of the historical chain picture of the reference of names.

I attempt to show that the view that humans are innately endowed with concepts is problematic for an externalist theory of concept-individuation. Such a theory yields at best a phylogenetic theory of the inheritance of concepts (it explains at best the concepts that we have inherited from our human ancestors). But it falls short of a properly metaphysical interpretation of the innateness hypothesis (of the sort envisioned by Descartes, according to which even our human ancestors were endowed with concepts that preceded any and all experience).

I conclude that a relational theory of concept-individuation is inconsistent with Chomskian premises about the innateness of concepts, and that a social relational theory of concept-individuation is separately inconsistent with other Chomskian premises.

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