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Michael Devitt
Position: Distinguished Professor
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. Harvard University

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of language
    Philosophy of linguistics
    Naturalized metaphysics: realism issues; biology
    Current projects include:
    • Biological Essentialism
    • Overlooking Conventions: The Trouble with Linguistic Pragmatism.
    • Experimental semantics
    • An ignored argument for scientific realism

Courses Recently Taught

  • Naturalized Metaphysics (Spring 2019)
  • Biological Essentialism (Spring 2018)
  • Reference and Experimental Philosophy (Fall 2017)

Representative Publications
  • Designation. New York: Columbia University Press, 1981
  • Realism and Truth. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984 (Princeton: Princeton University Press). 2nd edn revised, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991. Reprinted “with a new afterword”, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.
  • Ignorance of Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006.
  • “Singular Terms”. Journal of Philosophy LXXI (1974), pp. 183‑205.
  • “‘Ostrich Nominalism’ or ‘Mirage Realism’?” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61 (1980), pp. 433‑39.
  • “Meanings Just Ain’t in the Head”. Method, Reason and Language: Essays in honour of Hilary Putnam, George Boolos, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1990), pp. 79-104.
  • “The Metaphysics of Truth”. In The Nature of Truth, Michael Lynch, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (2001), pp. 579-611.
  • “Resurrecting Biological Essentialism”. Philosophy of Science 75 (2008), pp. 344-82.
  • “No Place for the A Priori”. In What Place for the A Priori?, Michael J. Shaffer and Michael L. Veber, eds. Chicago and La Salle: Open Court Publishing Company (2011), pp. 9-32.
  • “The Reference of Proper Names: Testing Usage and Intuitions” (with Nicolas Porot). Cognitive Science 42 (2018), pp. 1552-1585.
  • “Stirring the Possum: Responses to the Bianchi Papers”. In Language and Reality from a Naturalistic Perspective: Themes from Michael Devitt, Andrea Bianchi, ed. Cham: Springer (forthcoming)