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John Collins
University of East Anglia
John Collins
East Carolina University
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  1. Causation and Counterfactuals.John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.) - 2004 - MIT Press.
    Thirty years after Lewis's paper, this book brings together some of the most important recent work connecting—or, in some cases, disputing the connection ...
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  2. Counterfactuals and causation: history, problems, and prospects.John Collins, Ned Hall & L. A. Paul - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 1--57.
    Among the many philosophers who hold that causal facts1 are to be explained in terms of—or more ambitiously, shown to reduce to—facts about what happens, together with facts about the fundamental laws that govern what happens, the clear favorite is an approach that sees counterfactual dependence as the key to such explanation or reduction. The paradigm examples of causation, so advocates of this approach tell us, are examples in which events c and e— the cause and its effect— both occur, (...)
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  3.  84
    The redundancy of the act.John Collins - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3519-3545.
    The theory that structured propositions are complex act-types has been independently articulated by Peter Hanks and Scott Soames. The present paper argues that the role of the act in such theories is supererogatory, for the individuation conditions of the act-based propositions remain wholly at the level of concepts and their formal combination, features which the traditional structured proposition theorist endorses. Thus, it is shown that the traditional problems for structured propositions are only ameliorable on the act conception by appeal to (...)
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  4. Syntax, More or Less.John Collins - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):805-850.
    Much of the best contemporary work in the philosophy of language and content makes appeal to the theories developed in generative syntax. In particular, there is a presumption that—at some level and in some way—the structures provided by syntactic theory mesh with or support our conception of content/linguistic meaning as grounded in our first-person understanding of our communicative speech acts. This paper will suggest that there is no such tight fit. Its claim will be that, if recent generative theories are (...)
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  5.  43
    The copredication argument.John Collins - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (7):675-702.
    The standard view of truth-conditional semantics is that it is world-involving in the sense that a theory that specifies truth conditions eo ipso is a theory that specifies the way the world must be if the target sentences are to be true. It would appear to follow that the semantic properties of expressions, such as nominals, specify the very worldly objects that make true or false the sentences that host the nominals. Chomsky and others have raised a fundamental complaint against (...)
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  6. Ned Hall, and LA Paul, editors.John Collins - 2004 - In Ned Hall, L. A. Paul & John Collins (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. Cambridge: Mass.: Mit Press. pp. 12.
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  7.  74
    The Unity of Linguistic Meaning.John Collins - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    John Collins presents a new analysis of the problem of the unity of the proposition-how propositions can be both single things and complexes at the same time. He surveys previous investigations of the problem and offers his own novel and uniquely satisfying solution, which is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
  8. The big bad bug: What are the humean's chances?John Bigelow, John Collins & Robert Pargetter - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):443-462.
    Humean supervenience is the doctrine that there are no necessary connections in the world. David Lewis identifies one big bad bug to the programme of providing Humean analyses for apparently non-Humean features of the world. The bug is chance. We put the bug under the microscope, and conclude that chance is no special problem for the Humean.
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  9. Preemptive prevention.John Collins - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):223-234.
    As the ball flew towards us I leapt to my left to catch it. But it was you, reacting more rapidly than I, who caught the ball just in front of the point at which my hand was poised. Fortunate for us that you took the catch. The ball was headed on a course which, unimpeded, would have taken it through the glass window of a nearby building. Your catch prevented the window from being broken.
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  10. What is the relationship between synaesthesia and visuo-spatial number forms?Noam Sagiv, Julia Simner, James Collins, Brian Butterworth & Jamie Ward - 2006 - Cognition 101 (1):114-28.
  11.  27
    Exhortations to Philosophy: The Protreptics of Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle.James Henderson Collins - 2015 - Oup Usa.
    The author argues that the fourth-century philosophers used protreptic discourses to market philosophical practices and to define and legitimize the school of higher learning.
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  12.  47
    Why Firms Engage in Corruption: A Top Management Perspective.Jamie D. Collins, Klaus Uhlenbruck & Peter Rodriguez - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 87 (1):89-108.
    This study builds upon the top management literature to predict and test antecedents to firms’ engagement in corruption. Building on a survey of 341 executives in India, we find that if executives have social ties with government officials, their firms are more likely to engage in corruption. Further, these executives are likely to rationalize engaging in corruption as a necessity for being competitive. The results collectively illustrate the role that executives’ social ties and perceptions have in shaping illegal actions of (...)
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  13. Faculty disputes.John Collins - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (5):503-33.
    Jerry Fodor, among others, has maintained that Chomsky's language faculty hypothesis is an epistemological proposal, i.e. the faculty comprises propositional structures known (cognized) by the speaker/hearer. Fodor contrasts this notion of a faculty with an architectural (directly causally efficacious) notion of a module. The paper offers an independent characterisation of the language faculty as an abstractly specified nonpropositional structure of the mind/brain that mediates between sound and meaning—a function in intension that maps to a pair of structures that determine soundmeaning (...)
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  14.  16
    The Diversity of Fiction and Copredication: An Accommodation Problem.John Collins - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1197-1223.
    The paper presents an accommodation problem for extant semantic accounts of fiction. Some accounts of fiction are designed to accommodate one or another form of fictive statement exclusively, what I shall call in-fiction and out-fiction. Thus, typically, the accounts fail to do justice to their respective excluded form. A natural response, entertained by Kripke and in a different fashion by latter-day Meinongians, is to let the two different kinds of fiction have their respective accounts. It is very easy, however, to (...)
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  15. Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism: Rethinking Philosophical Method.Eugen Fischer & John Collins (eds.) - 2015 - London: Routledge.
    Experimental philosophy is one of the most exciting and controversial philosophical movements today. This book explores how it is reshaping thought about philosophical method. Experimental philosophy imports experimental methods and findings from psychology into philosophy. These fresh resources can be used to develop and defend both armchair methods and naturalist approaches, on an empirical basis. This outstanding collection brings together leading proponents of this new meta-philosophical naturalism, from within and beyond experimental philosophy. They explore how the empirical study of philosophically (...)
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  16.  77
    Genericity sans Gen.John Collins - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):34-64.
    Generics are exception-admitting generalisations, which find expression in apparently diverse linguistic forms. A standard claim is that there is a hidden linguistic unity to genericity in the form of a covert operator, Gen. This article surveys and rejects a range of considerations that purport to show Gen to be syntactically essential to the explanation of a range of linguistic phenomena connected to genericity. The conclusion reached is that genericity is not a specifically linguistic property insofar as it does not supervene (...)
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  17.  33
    Isolation of the muscular component in a proprioceptive spatial aftereffect.John K. Collins - 1971 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 90 (2):297.
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  18.  6
    Preemptive Prevention.John Collins - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):223.
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  19.  8
    Where ethics is taught: an institutional epidemiology.Jonathan Beever, Stephen M. Kuebler & Jordan Collins - 2021 - International Journal of Ethics Education 6 (2):215-238.
    The goal of this project is to argue for ethics as a necessary component of the institutional health. The authors offer an epidemiology of ethics for a large, metropolitan, very-high-research-activity university in the U.S. Where epidemiology of a pandemic looks at quantifiable data on infection and exposure rates, control, and broad implications for public health, an epidemiology of ethics looks to parallel data on those same themes. Their hypothesis is that knowing more about how undergraduates are exposed to ethics will (...)
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  20.  94
    Neophobia.John Collins - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):283-300.
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  21. Cutting it (too) fine.John Collins - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):143-172.
    It is widely held that propositions are structured entities. In The Nature and Structure of Content (2007), Jeff King argues that the structure of propositions is none other than the syntactic structure deployed by the speaker/hearers who linguistically produce and consume the sentences that express the propositions. The present paper generalises from King’s position and claims that syntax provides the best in-principle account of propositional structure. It further seeks to show, however, that the account faces severe problems pertaining to the (...)
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  22.  63
    The syntax of personal taste.John Collins - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):51-103.
  23.  49
    Simple belief.John Collins - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):4867-4885.
    We have reasons to want an epistemology of simple belief in addition to the Bayesian notion of belief which admits of degree. Accounts of simple belief which attempt to reduce it to the notion of credence all face difficulties. We argue that each conception captures an important aspect of our pre-theoretic thinking about epistemology; the differences between the two accounts of belief stem from two different conceptions of unlikelihood. On the one hand there is unlikelihood in the sense of improbability, (...)
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  24. Truth or meaning? A question of priority.John Collins - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):497-536.
    There is an incompatibility between the deflationist approach to truth, which makes truth transparent on the basis of an antecedent grasp of meaning, and the traditional endeavour, exemplified by Davidson, to explicate meaning through of truth. I suggest that both parties are in the explanatory red: deflationist lack a non-truth-involving theory of meaning and Davidsonians lack a non-deflationary account of truth. My focus is on the attempts of the latter party to resolve their problem. I look in detail at Davidson's (...)
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  25. Linguistic Pragmatism and Weather Reporting.John Collins - 2020 - Oxford University Press.
    John Collins defends the doctrine of linguistic pragmatism--arguing that linguistic meaning alone fails to fix truth conditions and detailing the relative sparseness of what language alone can provide to semantic interpretation--through his novel analysis of the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of weather reporting.
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  26. Methodology, not metaphysics: Against semantic externalism.John Collins - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):53-69.
    Borg (2009) surveys and rejects a number of arguments in favour of semantic internalism. This paper, in turn, surveys and rejects all of Borg's anti-internalist arguments. My chief moral is that, properly conceived, semantic internalism is a methodological doctrine that takes its lead from current practice in linguistics. The unifying theme of internalist arguments, therefore, is that linguistics neither targets nor presupposes externalia. To the extent that this claim is correct, we should be internalists about linguistic phenomena, including semantics.
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  27.  65
    Knowledge of Language Redux.John Collins - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):3-43.
    The article takes up a range of issues concerning knowledge of language in response to recent work of Rey, Smith, Matthews and Devitt. I am broadly sympathetic with the direction of Rey, Smith, and Matthews. While all three are happy with the locution ‘knowledge of language’, in their different ways they all reject the apparent role for a substantive linguistic epistemology in linguistic explanation. I concur but raise some friendly concerns over even a deflationary notion of knowledge of language. Against (...)
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  28.  81
    Meta-scientific Eliminativism: A Reconsideration of Chomsky's Review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior.John Collins - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):625-658.
    The paper considers our ordinary mentalistic discourse in relation to what we should expect from any genuine science of the mind. A meta-scientific eliminativism is commended and distinguished from the more familiar eliminativism of Skinner and the Churchlands. Meta-scientific eliminativism views folk psychology qua folksy as unsuited to offer insight into the structure of cognition, although it might otherwise be indispensable for our social commerce and self-understanding. This position flows from a general thesis that scientific advance is marked by an (...)
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  29. Rationalism and Naturalism in the Age of Experimental Philosophy.Eugen Fischer & John Collins - 2015 - In Eugen Fischer & John Collins (eds.), Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism. Rethinking Philosophical Method. Routledge. pp. 3-33.
    The paper outlines the evolution of on-going meta-philosophical debates about intuitions, explains different notions of 'intuition' employed in these debates, and argues for the philosophical relevance of intuitions in an aetiological sense taken from cognitive psychology. On this basis, it advocates a new kind of methodological naturalism which it finds implicit, for instance, in the warrant project in experimental philosophy: a meta-philosophical naturalism that promotes the use of scientific methods in meta-philosophical investigations. This 'higher-order' naturalism is consistent with both methodological (...)
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  30.  50
    Conjoining meanings without losing our heads.John Collins - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):224-236.
    The paper has two principal aims. First, Pietroski's sparse account of semantic composition will be favourably compared to the familiar full Frege hierarchy of composed semantic types. Second, I shall introduce the idea of a head as employed in linguistics and pose the problem of how to square Pietroski's compositional principles with the asymmetry entailed by headedness. The paper will leave the problem of headedness as an outstanding issue to be resolved.
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  31.  39
    A theory of humor elicitation.Robert S. Wyer & James E. Collins - 1992 - Psychological Review 99 (4):663-688.
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  32.  34
    "Evolutionary Ecology" and the Use of Natural Selection in Ecological Theory.James P. Collins - 1986 - Journal of the History of Biology 19 (2):257 - 288.
  33. Unsharpenable Vagueness.John Collins & Achille C. Varzi - 2000 - Philosophical Topics 28 (1):1-10.
    A plausible thought about vagueness is that it involves semantic incompleteness. To say that a predicate is vague is to say (at the very least) that its extension is incompletely specified. Where there is incomplete specification of extension there is indeterminacy, an indeterminacy between various ways in which the specification of the predicate might be completed or sharpened. In this paper we show that this idea is bound to founder by presenting an argument to the effect that there are vague (...)
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  34.  20
    Evolutionary ecology and the use of natural selection in ecological theory.James P. Collins - 1986 - Journal of the History of Biology 19 (2):257-288.
  35. Review of I G norance of language} by Michael D evitt. [REVIEW]John Collins - 2007 - Mind 116 (462):416-423.
  36.  35
    Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A Dialogue on the Philosophy and Methodology of Generative Linguistics.John Collins - 2006 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):469-503.
    My contribution takes up a set of methodological and philosophical issues in linguistics that have recently occupied the work of Devitt and Rey. Devitt construes the theories of generative linguistics as being about an external linguistic reality of utterances, inscriptions, etc.; that is, Devitt rejects the ‘psychologistic’ construal of linguistics. On Rey’s conception, linguistics concerns the mental contents of speaker / hearers; there are no external linguistic items at all. I reject both views. Against Devitt, I argue that the philosophical (...)
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  37.  82
    Nativism: In defense of a biological understanding.John M. Collins - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):157-177.
    In recent years, a number of philosophers have argued against a biological understanding of the innate in favor of a narrowly psychological notion. On the other hand, Ariew ((1996). Innateness and canalization. Philosophy of Science, 63, S19-S27. (1999). Innateness is canalization: in defense of a developmental account of innateness. In V. Hardcastle (Ed.), Where biology meets psychology: Philosophical essays (pp. 117-138). Cambridge, MA: MIT.) has developed a novel substantial account of innateness based on developmental biology: canalization. The governing thought of (...)
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  38.  58
    The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes.Jeffrey R. Collins - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
    The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes offers a new interpretation of Thomas Hobbes's response to the English Revolution. By focusing on his religious thought, it debunks the standard view of him as a royalist, and recovers his sympathies with the religious projects of the 1640s and 1650s. This reinterpretation culminates with an exploration of Hobbes's surprising sympathies with Oliver Cromwell and his supporters. By placing Thomas Hobbes within fresh contexts, Professor Collins offers a new angle of vision on the religious significance (...)
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  39.  59
    Apologizing for Who I Am.Glen Pettigrove & Jordan Collins - 2011 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (2):137-150.
    Philosophical discussions of apologies have focused on apologizing for wrong actions. Such a focus overlooks an important dimension of moral failures, namely, failures of character. However, when one attempts to revise the standard account of apology to make room for failures of character, two objections emerge. The first is rooted in the psychology of shame. The second stems from the purported social function of apologies. This paper responds to these objections and, in so doing, sheds further light both on why (...)
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  40. Cowie on the poverty of stimulus.John Collins - 2003 - Synthese 136 (2):159-190.
    My paper defends the use of the poverty of stimulus argument (POSA) for linguistic nativism against Cowie's (1999) counter-claim that it leaves empiricism untouched. I first present the linguistic POSA as arising from a reflection on the generality of the child's initial state in comparison with the specific complexity of its final state. I then show that Cowie misconstrues the POSA as a direct argument about the character of the pld. In this light, I first argue that the data Cowie (...)
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  41.  79
    Representations without Representa: Content and Illusion in Linguistic Theory.John Collins - 2014 - In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Semantics and Beyond: Philosophical and Linguistic Inquiries. De Gruyter. pp. 27-64.
  42. On the input problem for massive modularity.John M. Collins - 2004 - Minds and Machines 15 (1):1-22.
    Jerry Fodor argues that the massive modularity thesis – the claim that (human) cognition is wholly served by domain specific, autonomous computational devices, i.e., modules – is a priori incoherent, self-defeating. The thesis suffers from what Fodor dubs the input problem: the function of a given module (proprietarily understood) in a wholly modular system presupposes non-modular processes. It will be argued that massive modularity suffers from no such a priori problem. Fodor, however, also offers what he describes as a really (...)
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  43.  53
    Belief, Desire, and Revision.John Collins - 1988 - Mind 97 (387):333 - 342.
  44.  16
    No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture.Jim Collins & Andrew Ross - 1991 - Substance 20 (2):124.
  45.  3
    In the Shadow of Leviathan: John Locke and the Politics of Conscience.Jeffrey R. Collins - 2020 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
    Thomas Hobbes and John Locke sit together in the canon of political thought but are rarely treated in common historical accounts. This book narrates their intertwined careers during the Restoration period, when the two men found themselves in close proximity and entangled in many of the same political conflicts. Bringing new source material to bear, In the Shadow of Leviathan establishes the influence of Hobbesian thought over Locke, particularly in relation to the preeminent question of religious toleration. Excavating Hobbes's now (...)
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  46.  13
    Being and Some Philosophers.James Collins - 1950 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 11 (1):134-136.
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  47. Employee attitudes toward whistleblowing: Management and public policy implications. [REVIEW]Elletta Sangrey Callahan & John W. Collins - 1992 - Journal of Business Ethics 11 (12):939 - 948.
    Managers of organizations should be aware of the attitudes of employees concerning whistleblowing. Employee views should affect how employers choose to respond to whistleblowers through the evolving law of wrongful discharge.This article reports on a survey of employee attitudes toward the legal protection of whistleblowers and presents an analysis of the results of that survey.
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  48.  35
    A Note on Conventions and Unvoiced Syntax.John Collins - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):241-247.
    This note briefly responds to Devitt’s (2008) riposte to Collins’s (2008a) argument that linguistic realism prima facie fails to accommodate unvoiced elements within syntax. It is argued that such elements remain problematic. For it remains unclear how conventions might target the distribution of PRO and how they might explain hierarchical structure that is presupposed by such distribution and which is not witnessed in concrete strings.
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  49.  96
    Impossible Words Again: Or Why Beds Break but Not Make.John Collins - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (2):234-260.
    Do lexical items have internal structure that contributes to, or determines, the stable interpretation of their potential hosts? One argument in favour of the claim that lexical items are so structured is that certain putative verbs appear to be ‘impossible’, where the intended interpretation of them is apparently precluded by the character of their internal structure. The adequacy of such reasoning has recently been debated by Fodor and Lepore and Johnson, but to no apparent resolution. The present paper argues that (...)
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  50. Linguistic competence without knowledge of language.John Collins - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (6):880–895.
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