James Miller is a postgraduate researcher.
I am primarily concerned with the connection between metaphysics and language, and the arguments that have been proposed to debunk metaphsical inquiry through considerations of language. Though based in the field of metametaphysics, this research touches upon issues within linguistics, philosophy of mind, and the relationship that exists between language and thought. I also have strong interests in cognitive science, comparitive cognition, philosophy of science, and logic. My strong interest in films also leads me to write casually on the philosophical questions I find in them.
Realism, Truthmakers and Language: A study in meta-ontology and the relationship between language and metaphysics.
I firstly argue in favour of a new conception of the realism/anti-realism debate in metaphysics in terms of truthmakers. This conception allows for a more nuanced understanding of the differences between realist and anti-realist positions, without relying on other controversial philosophical notions, such as theories of truth.
I will then argue in favour of metaphysical realism against one particular variant of anti-realism that has recently become popular that seeks to dismiss metaphysical debate as 'purely verbal'. Such forms of anti-realism attempt to show that the nature of language is such that metaphysical enquiries cannot maintain their claims to be debating the 'fundamental structure of reality'. I will consider the role given to syntax within current linguistic research, and investigate the possibility that the study of the structure of language may provide us with a new way to view the relationship between metaphysics and language. This is a move away from other attempts to describe the relationship which have normally centred on issues of meaning and semantics, and instead would concentrate on the structural limitations that being linguistic creatures may place upon our cognition. By considering language and metaphysics in this way, I hope to support a moderate, but still strongly realist, conception of metaphysics that stands in line with current linguistic research.
“Lexicalisation and the Origin of the Human Mind” (Co-written with T. J. Hughes), Biosemiotics, forthcoming (2013)
‘The Unavoidable Dream Problem’, 2012, in Inception and Philosophy, Johnson, D, and Irwin, W. (eds.), Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell.
“Methodological Issues for Interdisciplinary Methods”, 2011, Postgraduate English, Vol. 23.
Syntax Reading Group (with Newcastle University)
Metaphysics Reading Group
Current Teaching (2012-13)
Knowledge and Reality (1st Year Course)
Philosophy of Mind (2nd Year Course)
Language and Mind (Tutoring and Lectures - 3rd Year Course)
2011-12 Ethics and Values (1st Year Course)
Additional Academic Activities:
Sub-Editor, ‘Kaleidoscope’ (2012-Present), Institute of Advanced Studies Interdisciplinary Journal, Durham University.
Managing Editor, ‘Philosophical Writings’ (2010-2012), Durham University Postgraduate Journal.
Founding Editor, ‘Critique’ (2008/9), Durham University Undergraduate Philosophy Society Journal.
Co-Organiser of 'Philosophy and Psychology: Integrating Research Across Disciplines’, Consists of two workshops: 'Concept Acquisition and the Role of Language', to occur: May 2013; and ‘Consciousness and Attention’, to occur: June 2013, Durham. Internal and External Funding, including Analysis Trust, Mind, British Society for the Philosophy of Science, Durham Institute of Advanced Studies, Durham Centre for Academic and Research Development. Major speakers from UK, USA, and Europe.
Organiser of the Fifthteenth Annual Durham-Bergen Conference, University of Durham, September 2012
Email James Miller at j.t.m.miller^at^durham.ac.uk