John McDowell

John McDowell is a Fellow of University College, Oxford.


No Surrender

11 February 2010

There was no ‘capitulation’, as Glen Bowersock puts it, by Constantinople before the Turks in 1453 (LRB, 11 February). Constantine XI Palaiologos refused an offer of safe passage from Mehmed II, removed his purple robe, took up his sword, and remains missing in action.
SIR: May I comment on Hilary Putnam’s review of The Varieties of Reference by Gareth Evans? Putnam gives the impression that the book is a failure, deserving attention only in one chapter, and even there only in spite of its theoretical ambitions. I think most readers will find this judgment perverse.Putnam accuses the book of ‘relentless technicality’. It is certainly difficult, but Putnam himself...

Literal meaning and fictional utterance

John McDowell, 17 April 1980

John Searle’s subtitle alludes to the mode of reflection about language which he recommended, and showed in operation, in his earlier book Speech Acts. What the theory of speech acts offers is a view of language which is to allow us to take full account of the fact that linguistic behaviour is behaviour, without lapsing into a behaviouristic obliteration of the inner life.

Encounters with Trees

Jerry Fodor, 20 April 1995

A dialectic of two different and opposed conceptions of Naturalism is working itself out in Mind and World. There’s the reductionist version – John McDowell calls it...

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A Technical Philosopher

Hilary Putnam, 19 May 1983

Gareth Evans died of cancer when he was barely 34 years of age. He had been working on this book for several years; the task of completing it from his notes was carried out by John McDowell. (The...

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