Alex Miller

  Philosophy, University of Otago  

Alex Miller

MA (Hons)(1987)(Glasgow), MLitt (1989)(St Andrews), AM (1992), PhD (1995)(Michigan)




Alex took his undergraduate degree in mathematics and philosophy at the University of Glasgow and did his graduate work in philosophy at the University of St. Andrews and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Alex joined the Otago department in June 2012. Prior to this he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, and has also taught at Nottingham, Cardiff, and Macquarie.



Phil 234/315 Contemporary Metaethics
Phil 233/333 Philosophy of Language and Mind
Phil 415 Special Topic: Meaning and Metaphysics


Supervision Interests
* Philosophy of Language and Mind
* Metaphysics (especially Realism and Antirealism)
* Metaethics


Research Students: Current

  • Daniel Wee: Rule-Following, Individualism and Communitarianism (PhD)
  • John Keyzer: Meaning and Normativity (PhD)
  • Ali Hossein Khani: Davidson and Wittgenstein on Meaning (PhD)


Research Students: Previously Completed

  • Paul Broadbent: McDowell’s Realism (PhD)
  • Walker MacMurdo: Putnam and Wright on Realism (BA Hons)
  • Reza Mosmer: The Tractatus Paradox (PhD)
  • Kirk Surgener: Korsgaard’s Metaethics (PhD)
  • Ali Saboohi: Theory of Meaning and Speakers’ Knowledge (PhD)
  • Andrew Field: Explanation in Metaethics (MPhil)
  • Callum Hood: Morality and Judgement-Dependence (MPhil)
  • Paul Broadbent: Davidson on Conceptual Schemes (MPhil)
  • Florian Demont: Non-Reductionism about Meaning (MPhil)
  • Kirk Surgener: Moral Particularism (MPhil)



Alex works mainly in the areas of philosophy of language and mind, metaethics and metaphysics and has published widely on these topics.
A revised and expanded 2nd edition of his book Philosophy of Language was published by Routledge in September 2007. A revised and expanded 2nd edition of his An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics was published by Polity Press in 2013. He is currently editing Logic, Language and Mathematics, a Festschrift volume for Crispin Wright featuring papers by Richard Heck, Neil Tennant, Ian Rumfitt, Stephen Schiffer, Bob Hale, Jim Edwards, William Demopolous, Sanford Shieh, George Boolos, Gideon Rosen and Steven Yablo, together with replies by Crispin Wright. This will be published by Oxford University Press in 2016. He is also working on a new monograph on metaethics for Polity Press and a 3rd edition of Philosophy of Language for Routledge. Additionally, he is co-editor (with Crispin Wright and Bob Hale) of a revised and expanded 2nd edition of A Companion to the Philosophy of Language (to be published by Blackwell).

Alex has given research presentations in New Zealand, Australia, Austria, USA, UK, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, and South Korea.

Google Scholar:

Alex recently appeared on an episode of Philosophy Talk, a San Francisco radio show hosted by Stanford University philosophers Ken Taylor and John Perry.


Selected Publications



2013 Contemporary Metaethics: An Introduction Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition (Cambridge: Polity Press, xiv + 314pp).

2007 Philosophy of Language Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition (London: Routledge, xviii + 393pp).

2003 An Introduction to Contemporary Metaethics (Cambridge: Polity Press xi + 314pp.)

1998 Philosophy of Language (London: University College London Press/Routledge, Fundamentals of Philosophy Series, xviii + 348 pp.)

Edited collections


2002 Rule-Following and Meaning (co-edited with Crispin Wright, Acumen Publishing, x + 302pp.)

Articles and book chapters


2015 “Rule-Following, Error Theory and Eliminativism”, forthcoming in International Journal of Philosophical Studies.

2015 “Blind Rule-Following and the ‘Antinomy of Pure Reason’”, forthcoming in Philosophical Quarterly.

2015 “Davidson’s Antirealism?” (with Ali Hossein Khani), forthcoming in Revista de Filosofia Aurora.

2015 “Wittgenstein, Quine and Dummett on Conventionalism about Logic”, Thought: A Journal of Philosophy.

2014 “Rule-Following and Consciousness: Old Problem or New?” (with Ali Saboohi), Acta Analytica.

2013 "The Development of Theories of Meaning: From Frege to McDowell and Beyond", in M. Beaney (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy (OUP).

2013 “Minimalism About Truth and Ethics”, in H. Lafollette (ed.) The International Encyclopdedia of Ethics (Blackwell)

2012 “Judgement-Dependence, Tacit Knowledge And Linguistic Understanding”, in P. Stalmaszczyk (ed) Philosophical and Formal Approaches to Linguistic Analysis (Ontos).

2012 “Semantic Realism and the Argument from Motivational Internalism”, in R. Schantz (ed) Prospects for Meaning? (De Gruyter).

2011 "Jackson, Serious Metaphysics and Conceptual Analysis", Analysis.

2010 "Rule-Following Skepticism", in S. Bernecker and D. Pritchard (eds) The Routledge Companion to Epistemology (Routledge).

2010 The Argument From Queerness and the Normativity of Meaning, in M. Grajner and A. Rami (eds.) Truth, Existence and Realism (Ontos).

2010 "Kripke's Wittgenstein, Factualism, and Meaning", in D. Whiting (ed.) The Later Wittgenstein on Language (Palgrave)

2010 "Non-Cognitivism", in J. Skorupski (ed) The Routledge Companion to Ethics (Routledge).

2010 "Realism", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

2010 “Metaethics”, in Oxford Bibliographies Online

2009 "Hume: Necessary Connection and Distinct Existence", in Robin Le Poidevin, Peter Simons, Andrew McGonigal and Ross Cameron (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics (Routledge).

2009 "Moral Realism and Program Explanation: A Reply to Nelson", Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

2009 "Primary Qualities, Secondary Qualities and the Truth about Intention", Synthese.

2008 “Thoughts, Oughts, and the Conceptual Primacy of Belief”, Analysis.

2008 Review of A.C. Grayling Truth, Meaning and Realism, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2007 “Rules-As-Rails, Tacit Knowledge and Semantic Creativity”, International Journal of Philosophical Studies.

2007 “Another Objection to Wright’s Treatment of Intention”, Analysis.

2006 "Realism and Antirealism", in A Handbook of Philosophy of Language (eds. B. Smith and E. Lepore) (Oxford University Press).

2006 "Russell, Multiple Relations, and the Correspondence Theory of Truth", The Monist.

2006 "Meaning-Scepticism", in M. Devitt and R. Hanley eds. A Guide to the Philosophy of Language (Blackwell).

2005 "Rules and Rule-following", in A. Barber and R. Stainton eds. The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (Elsevier)

2004 "Differences with Wright", Philosophical Quarterly.

2004 "Rule-Following and Externalism", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

2003 "Philosophy of Language", in Fundamentals of Philosophy (ed. J. Shand) (Routledge)

2003 "Objective Content", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume.

2003 "The Significance of Semantic Realism”, Synthese.

2003 "What is the Acquisition Argument?, in A. Barber (ed.) Epistemology of Language (Oxford University Press)

2002 "Wrights Argument Against Error-Theories", Analysis.

2002 "What is the Manifestation Argument?", Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.

2001 "Michael Dummett", in A Companion to Analytic Philosophy (eds. A. Martinich and D. Sosa) (Blackwell).

2001 "On Wrights Argument Against Deflationism", Philosophical Quarterly.

2001 "The Missing-Explanation Argument Revisited", Analysis.

2000 "Disjunctions, Programming, and the Australian View of Colour" (with Duncan McFarland), Analysis.

2000 "Horwich, Meaning, and Kripke's Wittgenstein", Philosophical Quarterly.

1999 "Arithmetical Platonism: Reliability and Judgement-Dependence" (with John Divers), Philosophical Studies.

1998 "Response-dependence Without Reduction?" (with Duncan McFarland), Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

1998 "Closet Dualism and Mental Causation" (with Brian Leiter), Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

1998 "Jackson on Colour as a Primary Quality" (with Duncan McFarland), Analysis.

1998 "Emotivism and the Verification Principle", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.

1998 "Objectivity", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (ed. E.J. Craig).

1998 "Response-dependence, Rule-following, and McDowell's Debate with the Anti-realists", European Review of Philosophy.

1997 "Lenin's Anticipation of Bernard William's 'Integrity' Argument against Utilitarianism", Journal of Value Inquiry.

1997 "Boghossian on Reductive Dispositionalism: The Case Strengthened", Mind and Language.

1997 "Tacit Knowledge", Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Language (eds. B. Hale and C. Wright).

1997 "More Responses to the Missing-Explanation Argument", Philosophia.

1996 “An Objection to Smiths Argument For Internalism”, Analysis.

1995 “Review article on Locke on Human Understanding by E.J. Lowe”, The Locke Newsletter.

1995 "Minimalism and The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (with John Divers), Philosophical Papers.

1995 "Objectivity Disfigured: Mark Johnston's Missing-Explanation Argument", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

1995 "Platitudes and Attitudes: A Minimalist Conception of Belief" (with John Divers), Analysis.

1994 "Truth, Permanence, and the Regulation of Belief: Loeb's Cartesian Argument", Ratio.

1994 "Rethinking Realism" (with John Divers), Mind.

1994 "Mind Doesn't Matter Yet" (with Brian Leiter), Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

1994 "Best Opinions, Intention-Detecting, and Analytic Functionalism" (with John Divers), Philosophical Quarterly.

1994 "Why Expressivists about Value should not love Minimalism about Truth" (with John Divers), Analysis.

1993 "Some Anomalies in Kim's Account of Davidson", Southern Journal of Philosophy.

1991 "Abstract Singular Reference: A Dilemma for Dummett", Southern Journal of Philosophy.

1989 "An Objection to Wright's Treatment of Intention", Analysis.

Book Reviews


2014 Review of N. Gascgoine and T. Thornton Tacit Knowledge, International Journal of Philosophical Studies.

2011 Review of R. Shafer-Landau (ed.) Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Ethics

2009 Review of Charles Travis Thought’s Footing: A Theme in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, Mind.

2008 Review of T.Cuneo The Normative Web: An Argument for Moral Realism, International Journal of Philosophical Studies.

2005 Review of M. De Gaynesford John McDowell, Philosophical Quarterly.

2005 Review of Jose Bermudez Thinking Without Words, Philosophical Books.

2005 Review of W.Kunne Conceptions of Truth, Mind.

2003 Review of J. Dodd The Identity Theory of Truth, Mind.

2000 Review of R. Kirk Relativism and Reality, Mind.

2000 Review of J. Hornsby, Simple-Mindedness, International Journal of Philosophical Studies.

1999 Review of P. Horwich, Meaning, Times Literary Supplement.

1999 Review of H. Steward, The Ontology of Mind, International Journal of Philosophical Studies.

1998 Review of S. Lovibond and S. Williams (eds.), Essays for David Wiggins: Identity, Truth, and Value, Philosophical Books.

1997 Review of B. Hooker (ed.), Truth in Ethics, Mind.

1995 Review of A. George (ed.), Mathematics and Mind, Philosophical Books.

1995 Double Review of Barry Allen, Truth in Philosophy and David Weissman, Truth's Debt To Value, Philosophical Review.

1994 Review of M. Hjort (ed.), Rules and Conventions: Literature, Philosophy, Social Theory, Canadian Philosophical Reviews.

1990 Review of Jane Heal, Fact and Meaning: Quine and Wittgenstein on Philosophy of Language, Mind.