Gary Ebbs

Gary Ebbs

Professor, Philosophy

Director of Graduate Studies


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1988
  • Mus.B., Piano Performance, Oberlin Conservatory, 1982
  • B.A., Philosophy, Oberlin College, 1981

About Gary Ebbs

The underlying goal of my research is to describe the methodology of rational inquiry from an engaged, practical point of view that we can reconcile with our best third-person descriptions of ourselves. I have written about truth, logical truth, rule-following, semantic anti-individualism, ontology, realism, contextual apriority, the analytic-synthetic distinction, and self-knowledge. I have also developed new readings of central writings by Rudolf Carnap, W. V. Quine, Hilary Putnam, Donald Davidson, Tyler Burge, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. I am the author of Rule-Following and Realism (Harvard University Press, 1997), Truth and Words (Oxford University Press, 2009), and Carnap, Quine, and Putnam on Methods of Inquiry (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and coauthor, with Anthony Brueckner, of Debating Self-Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2012). I have also published many journal articles and book chapters on the topics listed above.

I am currently writing a book that presents a systematic new reading of Quine’s revolutionary paper “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” and examines recent efforts to define and defend an epistemologically substantive analytic–synthetic distinction.

Selected publications

“Analyticity: the Carnap–Quine Debate and its Aftermath,” in Becker and Thomson, eds., Cambridge History of Philosophy: 1945–2015. Cambridge University Press (expected 2019)

“Putnam on Transtheoretical Terms and Contextual Apriority,” in James Conant and Sanjit Chakraborty, eds., Engaging Putnam. Harvard University Press (expected 2019)

“Quine on the Norms of Naturalized Epistemology,” in Robert Sinclair, ed., Science and Sensibilia by W.V. Quine: The 1980 Immanuel Kant Lectures (Palgrave- Macmillan, 2019), pp. 115–136

“First-Order Logical Validity and the Hilbert-Bernays Theorem,” co-authored with Warren Goldfarb, in Philosophical Issues, 28, Philosophy of Logic and Inferential Reasoning (2018), pp. 159–175

“How to Think about Whether We are Brains in a Vat,” in S. Goldberg, ed., The Brain in a Vat (Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 27–36

“Putnam and the Contextually A Priori,” in Lewis E. Hahn and Randall E. Auxier, eds., The Philosophy of Hilary Putnam, part of The Library of Living Philosophers series, (La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 2015), pp. 389–411

“Conditionalization and Conceptual Change: Chalmers in Defense of a Dogma,” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 111, No. 12, December 2014: 689–703