John Collins - CV



Contact details:          School of Philosophy,

                                    University of East Anglia

                                    Norwich NR4  7TJ

                        Tel.: 01603-593405



Date of birth: 6th April 1969

Nationality: British


Areas of Specialisation


Philosophy of mind/cognitive science

Philosophy of language/logic

Generative linguistics

Concept of truth


Areas of Competence


Philosophy of science

Contemporary epistemology/metaphysics

Modern philosophy (esp. Descartes, Kant, and Schopenhauer)



Education & Qualifications


Birkbeck College, University of London                           October 1995 - August 1998

PhD Philosophy


University of Warwick                                                       September 1993 - September 1994

MA Philosophy. Distinction


University of Warwick                                                       September 1990 - July 1993

BA Philosophy. First Class



Employment History


Post: Lecturer                                                                             October 2003 to the present

University of East Anglia, Norwich

Duties: Convenor of up to three units per semester; general admin.; graduate secretary for philosophy; secretary of the Philosophy Society.

Salary: £26,000 per annum.




Post: Teacher                                                                              January 2003 - March 2003

Course: ‘A’-level Philosophy syllabus/’Critical Thinking’

Orpington College of Further Education, Orpington

Duties: Ten hours contact time; essay/exam marking; course organisation and admin.

Salary: £200 per week


Post: Lecturer                                                                              February 2001 - June 2001 

Course: Philosophy of language (2nd year BA)

School of Languages and Social Sciences, Anglia Polytechnic University

Duties: Two weekly lectures; essay/exam setting and marking; course organisation and admin.

Reason for leaving: End of contract


Post: Lecturer/Tutor                                                                   October 2000 - December 2000

Course: Philosophy of Thought (2nd year BA)

Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Duties: Two weekly lectures; five weekly tutorials; weekly essay marking and feedback;

general admin.

Reasons for leaving: End of contract


Post: Lecturer/Tutor                                                                    April 1998 - July 1998

Course: Logic and Metaphysics

Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College

Duties: Weekly lectures; tutorials; essay marking

Reasons for leaving: End of contract


Post: Back-up class teacher/Tutor                                               October 1995 - June 1997

Course: Philosophy of Language (2nd year BA)

Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College

Duties: Fortnightly two hour lecture/seminar; tutorials; essay marking

Reasons for leaving: End of contract


Post: Seminar tutor                                                                      September 1994 - June 1995

Course: Philosophy of Logic

Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Duties: Weekly seminar; essay marking

Reasons for leaving: End of contract



Research Funding


British Academy Studentship Award for PhD research at Birkbeck College, London (1995-98).

Title of Research: The Meaning of Truth: Tarski, Deflationism, and Interpretation





Professional Activities


Referee for Erkenntnis, Mind, Mind and Language, and Philosophical Papers.



Refereed Journal Articles

[1] "Theory of Mind, Logical Form and Eliminativism." Philosophical Psychology, 13

        (4): 465-490, 2000.

[2] “Truth Conditions without Interpretation.” Sorites, 13: 52-72, 2001.

[3] “On the Very Idea of a Science Forming Faculty.” Dialectica, 56 (2): 125-151, 2002.

[4] "Truth or Meaning? A Question of Priority." Philosophy and Phenomenological

        Research, 65 (3): 497-536, 2002.

[5] “Truth: An Elevation.” American Philosophical Quarterly, 39 (4): 325-341, 2002.

[6] “Horwich’s Sting: Constitution and Composition.” Croatian Journal of Philosophy, 2

      (5): 97-112, 2002.

[7] “On the Proposed Exhaustion of Truth.” Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical

      Review, 41 (4): 653-79, 2002.

[8] “Horwich’s Schemata Meet Syntactic Structures.” Mind, 112 (447): 399-432, 2003.

[9] “Expressions, Sentences, Propositions.”  Erkenntnis, 59 (2): 233-262, 2003.

[10] “Cowie on the Poverty of Stimulus.” Synthèse, 136 (2): 159-190, 2003.

[11] “Language: A Dialogue.” Richmond Journal of Philosophy, 1 (5), 2003.

[12] “Faculty Disputes: Chomsky Contra Fodor.” Mind and Language, 2004.

[13] “Nativism: Substantial vs. Deflationary Approaches.” Philosophical Psychology,


[14] “On the Input Problem for Massive Modularity.” Minds and Machines, forthcoming.

[15] “A Minimalist Perspective: Deflationism and Natural Language Quantification. Part I.”

       accepted on condition of revisions.

[16] “A Minimalist Perspective: Deflationism and Natural Language Quantification. Part II.”

       accepted on condition of revisions.

[17] “Compositionality, LF-Syntax and Semantics.” accepted on condition of revisions.

[18] “How and Why Intensionality is Clausal”, accepted on condition of revisions.


Chapters in Collections

[1] “Doing Without World: Truth as Metarepresentation.” To appear in The Illocutionary

     Role of Truth. Kluwer.



[1] “Fodor Encapsulated. A Review of Jerry Fodor’s The Mind doesn’t Work That Way.”

        Pli, 11 (1): 278-278, 2000.

[2] “A Review of Louise M. Antony and Norbert Hornstein’s (eds.) Chomsky and his

       Critics.” Erkenntnis, 60 (1): 274-281, 2004.



Work under Review/in Progress


On ‘Logical Form’: Language in Mind (in preparation)



[1] “Proxytypes and Linguistic Nativism”, under review.

[2] “Two Kinds of Eliminativism: A Reconsideration of Chomsky’s Skinner review”, under


[3] “Stanley on Logical Form.” Manuscript.

[4] “On an Hitherto Unnoticed Connection between Generative Linguistics and

      Schopenhauer’s Transcendental Idealism.” Manuscript.


Critical Studies

[7] “Richard Schantz’s (ed.) What is Truth?Manuscript.

[8] “Ray Jackendoff’s Foundations of Language.” Manuscript.


Talks and Professional Papers


[1] “The Place of Representation in the Minimalist Program”. European Society for

      Philosophy and Psychology, Turin, July 2003.

[2] “Truth Without World”. University of East Anglia Philosophy Society, Norwich,

        November 2003.

[3] “Language, Theory, Politics: Themes from Chomsky”. University of Middlesex Research

      Seminar, London, April 2004.

[4] “The Epistemology of Language: an Eliminativist Proposal”. Anglian Philosophy

       Triangle, Cambridge, June 2004

[5] “On Not Knowing a Language”. European Society for Philosophy and Psychology,

       Barcelona July, 2004.




My PhD research was principally concerned with the philosophical response to Tarski’s work on the concept of truth and model theory. I sought to show that Tarski’s aims and achievements are orthogonal to the contemporary philosophical disputes over whether truth is a robust or deflated concept. Since the completion of this research, my interests have gone in a number of intersecting directions, unified by a commitment to bring to bear on philosophical concerns the methodology and results of naturalistic inquiry into cognition.

     (i) Truth. I am developing a cognitive conception of truth under which the concept serves as an internal metarepresentational mechanism whose application allows us to understand our thoughts as both representations and that represented. This approach stands in contrast to both robust and deflationary theories, in that it rejects all but pleonastic construals of the property of being true, and eschews all analytical efforts, while also seeking to explain our truth competence as opposed to resting on the normative or dispositional shape of our use of semantic terms. This approach is articulated in a number of publications and is ongoing.

       (ii) Philosophy of mind/cognitive science. My chief interests are cognitive architecture, the status of propositional psychology, and the internalism/externalism debate. These interests come together in my faculty ensemble approach to cognitive architecture. As well as distinguishing this view from alternative accounts, such as ‘Theory-theory’ and ‘massive modularity’, I have, on its basis, tackled a number of philosophical issues, including eliminativism and the cognitive basis of scientific explanation. I have also proposed an interface theory under which a Theory of Mind faculty is dependent on the output of the language faculty. This proposal is defended with syntactic, semantic, and psychological evidence.

        (iii) Language. My interests in the philosophy of language are shaped by an internalist conception of linguistic competence, which is (i) free of any normative/epistemological constraints and (ii) non-causal. My thesis is that language, proprietarily understood, is a sui generis structural aspect of the human mind/brain. I am currently exploring the consequences of the this model for many traditional philosophical concerns, especially ‘knowledge of language/meaning’, compositionality, and intensionality.

       (iv) Linguistic theory. I have articulated and defended the framework of generative linguistics. I have been especially concerned to explain ‘poverty of stimulus’ arguments and to dispute ‘non-linguistic’ explanations of syntactic competence. I have also made specific proposals about (inter alia) the syntax of generalised quantification, the structure of intensional transitive verb phrases, and phase level derivation.

       (v) Logical Form. The book I have in preparation is concerned with the various senses of  the traditional philosophical notion of logical form, and what legitimacy they might have. The central claim of the work is that there is no pure notion of logical form that is not infected with features of lexical meaning. Thus, the common thought that form is one thing, word meaning is another thing, collapses. I draw various consequences from this claim to do with knowledge of meaning, truth conditional semantics, and the putative role of logical form within metaphysical inquiry. The work also argues, pace many philosophers, linguists, and psychologists, that the direction of current research in generative linguistics supports my sceptical attitude towards the purity of logical form.

        (vi) The future. As well as continuing the above research, I intend to further investigate issues in scientific methodology, especially the difference between the normative and the cognitive, and to explore the historical debates concerning innate ideas, the putative role of justification in accounting for knowledge, and the status of ‘the Given’, with especial reference to Sellars, Evans, McDowell, and Fodor.    




Prof. Jennifer Hornsby, Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX.

Tel.: 020 7631 6564

Fax: 020 7631 6564



Prof. Michael Luntley, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL.

Tel.: 01203-522581

Fax: 02476-523019




David Miller, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL.

Tel.: 02476 524543

Fax: 02476 523019



More Recent Teaching Referees


Dr. Daniel Cardinal, Orpington College of Further Education, The Walnuts, Orpington, BR6 OTE.

Tel: 01689 899700

Fax: 01689 877949



Dr. Neil Gascoigne, School of Languages and Social Sciences, Anglia Polytechnic University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT.

Tel.: 01223-363271, ex.2419

Fax: 01223-352973