Logical Particularism

Joint work with Gillman Payette.

On the orthodox view of logic, logics are to be understood as systems with universal application.  Let us call this orthodox view `logical generalism’. Even logical pluralists, who allow that there are multiple correct logics, are generalists, in that they maintain either that multiple logics are correct come what may, or that each logic is correct within its context of applicability. In contrast the view that we wish to defend is one on which logics can and do explain the validity of particular arguments without being correct, either universally or within a context.


“The free speech of men silences the free speech of women. It is the same social goal, just other people.” – Catherine MacKinnon

There is a small but growing literature, starting with the work of Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby in the late 1990’s, that attempts to defend MacKinnon from charges of incoherence by means of the work of J.L. Austin. My view is that this literature largely misreads Austin – admittedly in a way that many people misread Austin – and as a result misses some of the most interesting connections between the two. I also maintain that the role of convention (in Ruth Millikan‘s sense) in silencing is generally under appreciated.

Having sex

Joint work with Mark Migotti.

“When I first started having sex with other people,” writes Greta Christina, “I used to like to count them”. But who counts when you are counting? As Christina shows us, it turns out to be remarkably hard to tell once one gives up a heteronormative focus. Marilyn Frye goes as far as to suggest, in her “Lesbian ‘sex'” that the concept of having sex is irrevocably tied to the male orgasm. The view we are developing approaches sex as a species of collective action rather than as a privileged subset of sexual activities.