Michael Devitt

Devitt in Warsaw, 2008 Michael Devitt (born 1938) is an Australian philosopher currently teaching at the City University of New York in New York City. His primary interests include philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology. His current work involves the philosophy of linguistics, foundational issues in semantics, the semantics of definite descriptions and demonstratives, semantic externalism, and scientific realism.

He is a noted proponent of the causal theory of reference. He claims that repeated groundings in an object can account for reference change. However, such a response leaves open the problem of cognitive significance that originally intrigued Bertrand Russell and Gottlob Frege.

Michael Devitt, along with Georges Rey, is also a critic of the transcendental argument against eliminativism, and defends this position against claims that it is self-refuting by invoking deflationary semantic theories that avoid analysing predicates like "x is true" as expressing a real property. They are construed, instead, as logical devices so that asserting that a sentence is true is just a quoted way of asserting the sentence itself. To say, "'God exists' is true" is just to say, "God exists". This way, Rey and Devitt argue, in so far as dispositional replacements of "claims" and deflationary accounts of "true" are coherent, eliminativism is not self-refuting.

Devitt is a known critic of constructivist epistemology. Provided by Wikipedia

by Devitt, Michael
Published 2010
Oxford University Press

by Devitt, Michael
Published 2006