Martin Montminy


Photo by Keisha Register 

Ph.D., Montreal
Research areas: Philosophy of Language, Epistemology, Metaphysics

(405) 325-6589
office hours

I am interested in how what we mean by our words varies from one context of to another. This issue is importantly relevant to several traditional debates in philosophy. For example, according to epistemic contextualism, a view I endorse, what we mean by ‘know’ may change dramatically, depending on the context. The skeptic associates very strict standards with ‘know.’ So her claim that we ‘don’t know’ anything is compatible with our ordinary knowledge claims, which are associated with more relaxed epistemic standards.

I also hold that the vagueness of our terms gives rise to a kind of context sensitivity. On my view, speakers have the discretion to judge borderline cases of vague predicates as they wish. In addition to offering a plausible treatment of the most puzzling features associated with vagueness, this contextualist account, I argue, has interesting consequences. It can be used to dissolve the debate between content individualism and anti-individualism, and to solve Kripke’s puzzle about belief.

More recently, my research has focused on various issues such as epistemic modals ('It might'), causal contextualism (the idea that sentences of the form ‘c causes e’ have context-sensitive truth-conditions), the norms of assertion (e.g., one should assert only what one knows) and the possibility of obtaining knowledge from false beliefs. These days, I work on moral responsibility. I defend a capacity-based approach, according to which a morally responsible agent ought to do the right thing to the extent of her capacities.

Recent courses:

PHIL 1013 Introduction to Philosophy                                                                                                                      PHIL 3503 Self and Identity
PHIL 3533 Language, Communication and Knowledge
PHIL 4513/5513 Metaphysics
PHIL 4533/5533 Philosophy of Language
PHIL 4543/5543 Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 4893 Senior Capstone
PHIL 6543 Philosophy of Mind: Semantic Externalism
PHIL 6543 Philosophy of Mind: Intentional Realism                                                                                               PHIL 6533 Philosophy of Language: Norms and Responsibility

Selected publications:

Click here for full CV (.pdf)

“Doing One’s Reasonable Best: What Moral Responsibility Requires,” forthcoming in the Journal of the American Philosophical Association. (.pdf)

“A Contextualist Approach to Higher-Order Vagueness,” forthcoming in the Southern Journal of Philosophy. (.pdf)

“A Defense of Causal Invariantism” (co-authored with Andrew Russo), forthcoming in Analytic Philosophy. (.pdf)

“Denis Diderot,” in Benjamin Hill, Henrik Lagerlund and Robert J. Stainton, eds., Sourcebook in the History of Philosophy of Language, Springer, 2 p.

“Knowledge Despite Falsehood,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44, 2014, 463-475.(.pdf)

“Defending the Coherence of Contextualism,” Episteme 11, 2014, 319-333 (co-authored with Wes Skolits). (.pdf)

“Knowledge and Disagreement,” in Franck Lihoreau and Manuel Rebuschi, eds., Epistemology, Context and Formalism, Synthese Library, New York, Springer, 2014, 33-47. (.pdf)

“Explaining Dubious Assertions,” Philosophical Studies 165, 2013, 825-830. (.pdf)

“Why Assertion and Practical Reasoning Must Be Governed by the Same Epistemic Norm,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94, 2013, 57-68. (.pdf)

“The Role of Context in Contextualism,” Synthese 190, 2013, 2341-2366. (.pdf)

“The Single Norm of Assertion,” A. Capone, F. Lo Piparo and M. Carapezza, eds., Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy, Synthese Library, New York, Springer, 2013, 35-52. (.pdf)

“Epistemic Modals and Indirect Weak Suggestives,” Dialectica 66, 2012, 583-606. (.pdf)

“Indeterminacy, Incompleteness, Indecision and Other Semantic Phenomena,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41, 2011, 73-98. (.pdf)

“Two Contextualist Fallacies,” Synthese 173, 2010, 317-333. (.pdf)

“Context and Communication: A Defense of Intentionalism,” Journal of Pragmatics 42, 2010, 2910-2918. (.pdf)

“Contextualism, Disagreement and Communication,” Manuscrito 32, 2009, 201-230. (.pdf)

“Contextualism, Invariantism and Semantic Blindness,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87, 2009, 639-657. (.pdf)

“Contextualism, Relativism and Ordinary Speakers’ Judgments,” Philosophical Studies 143, 2009, 341-356. (.pdf)

“Contextualist Resolutions of Philosophical Debates,” Metaphilosophy 39, 2008, 571-590. (.pdf)

“Cheap Knowledge and Easy Questions,” Grazer Philosophische Studien 77, 2008, 127-146. (.pdf)

“Can Contextualists Maintain Neutrality?,” Philosophers’ Imprint 8, 2008, 1-13. (.pdf)

“Supervaluationism, Validity and Necessarily Borderline Sentences,” Analysis 68, 2008, 61-67. (.pdf)

“Moral Contextualism and the Norms for Moral Conduct,” American Philosophical Quarterly 44, 2007, 1-13. (.pdf)

“Epistemic Contextualism and the Semantics-Pragmatics Distinction,” Synthese 155, 2007, 99-125. (.pdf)

“Semantic Content, Truth-Conditions and Context,” Linguistics and Philosophy 29, 2006, 1-26. (.pdf)