Kevin Falvey

Kevin Falvey
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Office Hours

Tuesday, Thursday 5-6pm

Office Location

South Hall 5709


Research Interests

  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Language


  • PhD, University of Minnesota


Modern philosophy has inherited from Descartes a picture of the mind as an inner realm the facts concerning which have no essential connection to the goings-on in the natural and social world we inhabit. In my opinion, the principal elements of this picture persist even in contemporary materialist theories that feature the brain (rather than an immaterial substance) in the starring role. However, there is a tradition of loyal opposition to the Cartesian doctrine, represented above all by Wittgenstein, but including also — in at least some of their moods — Sellars, Putnam, Davidson, Burge, and McDowell. These are the philosophers who have most influenced me. Much of my work has been on the special epistemic authority carried by first person ascriptions of belief, intention, and other propositional attitudes, which I see as emerging from the roles such ascriptions play in the social practices of making and justifying claims about the world. More generally, I am interested in ways of seeing our commonsense intentional discourse as primarily normative and interpretive, rather than as comprising a primitive (“folk”) scientific theory of behavior.



1.       “On Desire and the Good”, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, forthcoming.

2.       “Memory and Knowledge of Content”, New Essays on Semantic Externalism and Self-Knowledge, edited by Susana Nuccetelli. MIT Press, 2003.

3.       “The Basis of First Person Authority”, Philosophical Topics, Vol. 28, No. 2 (2000), pages 69–99.

4.       “Knowledge in Intention”, Philosophical Studies, Vol. 99, No. 1 (2000), pages 21–44.

5.       “The Compatibility of Anti-Individualism and Privileged Access”, Analysis, Vol. 60, No. 1 (2000), pages 137–142.

6.       “A Natural History of Belief”, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 80, No. 4 (1999), pages 324–345.

7.       “Externalism, Self-Knowledge, and Skepticism” (with Joseph Owens), Philosophical Review, Vol. 103, No. 1, (1994), pages 107–137.