Steven Gross

Steven Gross

Professor of Philosophy and Chair

Contact Information

Research Interests: philosophy of language and mind, and foundations of the mind-brain sciences

Education: PhD, Harvard University

Steven Gross is Professor of Philosophy, with secondary appointments in Cognitive Science and in Psychological and Brain Sciences. He is also affiliate faculty with the Science of Learning Institute and the Foundations of Mind Group. He received an AB and PhD from Harvard University and previously taught at University College London, University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University. He is a past President of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.

Gross specializes in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and foundations of the mind-brain sciences. He has published on a variety of topics in these areas, including innateness, cognitive penetration, methodology and evidence in linguistics, attention, probabilistic models of perception, context-sensitivity, etc. Recent work includes papers on semantic perception, language and the perception-cognition border, and iconic representation.


Recent courses include:

  • Philosophical Problems
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy and Cognitive Science
  • Philosophy and AI
  • Philosophy of Perception
  1. “Iconicity, 2nd-Order Isomorphism, and Perceptual Categorization,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, forthcoming.
    2. “Language and the Border between Perception and Cognition,” Analysis, forthcoming.
    3. “Is There an Empirical Case for Semantic Perception?” Inquiry, forthcoming.
    4. “Representation of Pure Magnitudes in ANS” (with W. Kowalsky and T. Burge), Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44, 2021, e189.
    5. “‘Impossible’ Somatosensation and the (Ir)rationality of Perception” (with I. Won and C. Firestone), Open Mind 5, 2021, pp. 30-41.
    6. “Linguistic Judgments as Evidence,” in Blackwell Companion to Chomsky, eds. Nicholas Allott, Terje Londahl, and Georges Rey (Wiley Blackwell, 2021), pp. 544-56.
    7. “Can Resources Save Rationality? ‘Anti-Bayesian’ Updating in Cognition and Perception” (with E. Mandelbaum, I. Won, and C. Firestone), Behavioral & Brain Sciences 43, E16, 2020.
    8. “Probabilistic Representations in Perception: Are There Any, and What Would They Be?,” Mind & Language 35, 2020, pp. 377-89.
    9. “Linguistic Intuitions: Error Signals and the Voice of Competence,” in Linguistic Intuitions, Evidence, and Expertise, eds. Samuel Schindler, Anna Drozdzowicz, and Karen Brøcker (Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 13-32.
    10. “Perceptual Consciousness and Cognitive Access from the Perspective of Capacity-Unlimited Working Memory,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373, 2018.
    11. “Perception and the Origins of Temporal Representation,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 98, S1, 2017, pp. 275-92.
    12. “Perceptual Consciousness, Short-Term Memory, and Overflow: Replies to Beck, Orlandi and Franklin, and Phillips” (with J. Flombaum), Mind & Language symposium, The Brains Blog, June 2017.
    13. “Does Perceptual Consciousness Overflow Cognitive Access? The Challenge from Probabilistic, Hierarchical Processes” (with J. Flombaum), Mind & Language 32, 2017, pp. 358-91.
    14. “Cognitive Penetrability and Attention,” in Frontiers in Psychology, 22 February 2017, (Research Topic “Pre-cueing Effects on Perception and Cognitive Penetrability,” eds. Athanassios Raftopoulos and Gary Lupyan)
    15. “Does the Expressive Role of ‘True’ Preclude Deflationary Davidsonian Semantics?”, in Meaning Without Representation: Essays on Truth, Expression, Normativity, and Naturalism, eds. S. Gross, N. Tebben, and M. Williams (Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 47-63.
    16. Meaning Without Representation: Essays on Truth, Expression, Normativity, and Naturalism, eds. S. Gross, N. Tebben, and M. Williams (Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. x + 379.
    17. “Descriptive Semantic Externalism,” in The Routledge Handbook of Semantics, ed. N. Riemer (Routledge, 2015), pp. 13-29.
    18. “The Metaphysics of Meaning: Hopkins on Wittgenstein,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23, 2015, pp. 518-38.
    19. “Problems for the Purported Cognitive Penetration of Perceptual Color Experience and Macpherson’s Proposed Mechanism” (with T. Chaisilprungraung, E. Kaplan, J. Menendez, and J. Flombaum) in Thought and Perception, eds. E. Machery and J. Prinz (New Prairie Press, 2014), pp. 1-30.
    20. “Linguistic Intuitions” (with J. Maynes), Philosophy Compass 8, 2013, 714-30.
    21. “What is a Context?”, in Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy, eds. A. Capone, F. Lo Piparo, and M. Carapezza (Springer, 2013), pp. 113-32.
    22. “Davidson, First Person Authority, and the Evidence for Semantics,” in Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental, ed. G. Preyer (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 228-48.
    23. “Innateness” (with Georges Rey), in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science, eds. E. Margolis, R. Samuels, and S. Stich (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 318-60.
    24. “Revisited Linguistic Intuitions” (with Jennifer Culbertson), British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62, 2011, pp. 639-656.
    25. “Knowledge of Meaning, Conscious and Unconscious,” in Meaning, Understanding, and Knowledge, eds. B. Armour-Garb, D. Patterson, and J. Woodbridge (Vol. 5: The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication), 2009, pp. 1-44.
    26. “Are Linguists Better Subjects?” (with Jennifer Culbertson), British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60, 2009, pp. 721-36.
    27. “Sincerely Saying What You Don’t Believe Again,” Dialectica 62, 2008, pp. 349-54.
    28. “Reply to Jackendoff,” The Linguistic Review 24, 2007, pp. 423-9.
    29. “Relating Conscious and Unconscious Semantic Knowledge,” Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7, 2007, pp. 427-45.
    30. “Trivalent Semantics and the Vaguely Vague,” Synthese 156, 2007, pp. 97-117.
    31. “Can Empirical Theories of Semantic Competence Really Help Limn the Structure of Reality?”, Nous 40, 2006, pp. 43-81.
    32. “Can One Sincerely Say What One Doesn’t Believe?”, Mind & Language 21, 2006, pp. 11-20.
    33. “The Nature of Semantics: On Jackendoff’s Arguments,” The Linguistic Review 22, 2005, pp. 249-270.
    34. “The Biconditional Doctrine: Contra Kölbel on a ‘Dogma’ of Davidsonian Semantics,” Erkenntnis 62, 2005, pp. 189-210.
    35. “Context-Sensitive Truth-Theoretic Accounts of Semantic Competence,” Mind & Language 20, 2005, pp. 68-102.
    36. “Linguistic Understanding and Belief,” Mind 114, 2005, pp. 61-6.
    37. “Putnam, Context, and Ontology,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34, 2004, pp. 507-54.
    38. “Vagueness, Indirect Speech Reports, and the World,” Protosociology (Special Issue on Semantic Theory and Reported Speech) 17, 2002, pp. 153-68.
    39. “Is Context-Sensitivity Eliminable? Some Remarks,” The Dialogue (Yearbook of Philosophical Hermeneutics: The Legitimacy of Truth, Proceedings of the Third Meeting, Italian-American Philosophy) 2, 2002, pp. 21-38.
    40. “Putnam, Kontext und Ontologie,” in Hilary Putnam und die Tradition des Pragmatismus, eds. Marie-Luise Raters and Marcus Willaschek (Suhrkamp, 2002), pp. 404-36.
    41. “Vagueness, Indeterminacy, and Uncertainty,” in Indeterminacy, ed. Jose Ciprut (MIT Press, 2008), pp. 129-49. [written and submitted 1999-2000]
    42. “Vagueness in Context,” in Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, eds. L. Gleitman and A. Joshi (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000), pp. 208-13.
    43. Essays on Linguistic Context-Sensitivity and its Philosophical Significance, Studies in Philosophy: Outstanding Dissertations (Routledge, 2001), pp. xvi + 148.

    Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, Abstracts, Etc.
    1. “Impossible Integration of Size and Weight” (with Isabel Won and Chaz Firestone), Journal of Vision, September 2019, Vol. 19, 301a. doi: [abstract]
    2. “Prior Repulsion: ‘Anti-Bayesian’ Updating in Visual Cognition” (with Chaz Firestone), Journal of Vision, September 2018, Vol. 18, 12. doi:10.1167/18.10.12 [abstract]
    3. Review of John Zeimbekis and Athanassios Raftopoulos (eds.), The Cognitive Penetrability of Perception: New Philosophical Perspectives, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (April 2016).
    4. Review of E. J. Lowe, Forms of Thought, in Analysis 75, 2015, pp. 165-7.
    5. Review of Michael Tomasello, Origins of Human Communication, in Mind & Language 25 (April 2010), pp. 237-46.
    6. Review of Ray Jackendoff, Language, Consciousness, Culture: Essays on Mental Structure, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (May 2009).
    7. Review of Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context, in The Philosophical Review 118 (April, 2009), pp. 261-6.
    8. “Natural Kind Terms,” The Concise Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Language and Linguistics, eds. A. Barber and R. Stainton (Elsevier, 2009), pp. 501-5. Reprint of 10 below.
    9. “Normativity,” The Concise Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Language and Linguistics, eds. A. Barber and R. Stainton (Elsevier, 2009), pp. 530-3. Reprint of 11 below.
    10. “Natural Kind Terms,” Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed., ed. Keith Brown (Elsevier, 2006), vol. 8, pp. 492-6.
    11. “Normativity,” Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed., ed. Keith Brown (Elsevier, 2006), vol. 8, pp. 698-701.
    12. Review of Robert Brandom, Articulating Reasons, in The Philosophical Review 111 (April 2002), pp. 284-7.
    13. Review of Jerry Fodor, Concepts, in Mind 110 (April 2001), pp. 469-75.
    14. Review of Fiona Cowie, What’s Within? Nativism Reconsidered, in The Philosophical Review 110 (January 2001), pp. 94-7.
    15. “What is a Hole?” (review of Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi, Holes and Other Superficialities), The Harvard Review of Philosophy IV (Spring 1994), pp. 76-80.
    16. “An Interview with Henry Allison,” The Harvard Review of Philosophy VI (Spring 1996), pp. 31-45. Reprinted in Philosophers in Conversation (Routledge, 2002), pp. 81-97.