About my research   

The central 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 current third-person descriptions of ourselves. Guided by this goal, I propose new accounts of truth, logical truth, rule-following, semantic anti-individualism, and self-knowledge, as well as new interpretations of influential writings on these topics, including writings by Rudolf Carnap, W. V. Quine, Hilary Putnam, Donald Davidson,Tyler Burge, Saul Kripke, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.


My background

I completed a B.A. in Philosophy from Oberlin College in 1981, a B. Mus. in Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory in 1982, and a PhD in Philosophy from Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1988. My principal teachers at Michigan were Jaegwon Kim, who supervised my dissertation, Paul Boghossian, David Hills, Peter Railton, Larry Sklar, and William Taschek. My first faculty position (1988-1990) was as Assistant Professor (a "Folding Chair") at Harvard, where I was challenged, inspired, and influenced in fruitful ways by Frank Arntzenius, John Carriero, Stanley Cavell, Burt Dreben, Steve Engstrom, Juliet Floyd, Warren Goldfarb, Fred Neuhouser, Bob Nozick, Charles Parsons, Hilary Putnam, W. V. Quine, John Rawls, Alan Sidelle, Tom Ricketts, Tim Scanlon, Sanford Shieh, and Gisela Striker. I moved from Harvard to the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, and from there to the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1998. I have taught at Indiana-Bloomington since 2006.   


Contact Information

Department of Philosophy
Indiana University
Sycamore Hall 026
1033 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-7005


Gary Ebb's e-mail


 Last updated on 1 August 2017


Forthcoming publications


First-Order Logical Validity and the Hilbert-Bernays Theorem," co-authored with Warren Goldfarb, in Juhl and Schechter, eds., Philosophy of Logic and Inferential Reasoning: Philosophical Issues, Volume 18 (2018) Link to draft


Analyticity: the CarnapQuine Debate and its Aftermath, in Becker and Thomson, eds., Cambridge History of Philosophy: 19452015 Link to draft






 New in 2017


Carnap, Quine, and Putnam

on Methods of Inquiry                    

Cambridge University Press, June 2017                     

Link to CUP Flyer with 20% discount                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Debating Self-Knowledge

Co-authored with Anthony Brueckner

Cambridge University Press, 2012

Paperback Edition, 2015

Link to CUP


truth and words                                                                              


Truth and Words                                                                                 

Oxford University Press, 2009                                                            

Paperback Edition, 2011                                                                           

Link to OUP                                                                                                            


rule-following and realism

 Rule-Following and Realism

Harvard University Press, 1997

Paperback Edition, 2001

Link to HUP



Articles, book chapters, and reviews


37. Carnap on Ontology,” in Ebbs, Carnap, Quine, and Putnam on Methods of Inquiry (Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 3354

36. Reading Quine's Claim that Definitional Abbreviations Create Synonymies,” in Ebbs, Carnap, Quine, and Putnam on Methods of Inquiry (Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 168187

35. “Rules and Rule-Following, in Hans-Johann Glock and John Hyman, eds., A Companion to Wittgenstein (Wiley-Blackwell 2017), pp. 390406

34. “Putnam on Methods of Inquiry, Argumenta 3, December 2016, pp. 157161 Link to article

33. “How to Think About Whether We Are Brains in Vats, in S. Goldberg, ed., The Brain in a Vat (Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 2736

32. “Quines 'Predilection' for Finitism, Metascience 25(1), March 2016, pp. 3136 Link to article

31. “Reading Quines Claim that No Statement is Immune to Revision,” in Janssen-Lauret and Kemp, eds., Quine and his Place in History (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2016), pp. 123145

30. "Introduction to 'Preestablished Harmony' and 'Response to Gary Ebbs',” in Janssen-Lauret and Kemp, eds., Quine and his Place in History (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2016), pp. 2128

29. “On Knowing What Thoughts One's Utterances Express,” in S. Goldberg, ed., Externalism, Self-Knowledge, and Skepticism (Cambridge University Press, 2015), 165183

28. “Putnam and the Contextually A Priori,” in Lewis E. Hahn and Randall E. Auxier, eds., The Philosophy of Hilary Putnam (La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 2015), pp. 389407 Link to draft

27. "Satisfying Predicates: Kleene's Proof of the Hilbert-Bernays Theorem," History and Philosophy of Logic, April 2015 Link to article, Link to list of Errata for this article

26. "Conditionalization and Conceptual Change: Chalmers in Defense of a Dogma," The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 111, No. 12, December 2014: 689703

25. Review of Carnap, Tarski, and Quine at Harvard: Conversations on Logic, Mathematics, and Science, by Greg Frost-Arnold, History and Philosophy of Logic, June 2014 Link to review

24. “Can Logical Truth be Defined in Purely Extensional Terms?” British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Volume 22, Issue 2, 2014, pp. 343-367  Link to article

23. “Quines Naturalistic Explication of Carnaps Logic of Science, in Gilbert Harman and Ernie Lepore, eds., A Companion to W.V.O. Quine (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), 465482

22. “Mendolas Internalism,Analytic Philosophy, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2013: 248–257

21. Review of The Themes of Quine's Philosophy: Meaning, Reference, and Knowledge, by Edward Becker, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, May 2013     Link to NDPR

20. “Davidson’s Explication of Meaning,” in Gerhard Preyer, ed., Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental (Oxford University Press, 2012), 76104   Link to OUP

19. “The Dialectical Context of Putnam's Argument that We are Not Brains in Vats,” in Ebbs and Brueckner, Debating Self-Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2012), 6682

18. “Self-Knowledge in Doubt, in Ebbs and Brueckner, Debating Self-Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2012), 186-216

17. “Quine Gets the Last Word,The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 108, No. 11, November 2011: 617-632

16. “Carnap and Quine on Truth by Convention, in Mind, Vol. 120, No. 478, April 2011: 193237  html, pdf

15. “Anti-Individualism, Self-Knowledge, and Epistemic Possibility: A Clarification and Defense of a Puzzle About Doubt,” in A. Hatzimoysis, ed., Self-Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2011), 5379  pdf

14. “Why Skepticism About Self-Knowledge is Self-Undermining,” in Analysis, Vol. 65, No. 3 (2005): 237244  pdf

13. “Denotation and Discovery,” in Frederick F. Schmitt, ed., Socializing Metaphysics: the Nature of Social Reality (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), 247268  pdf

12. “A Puzzle About Doubt,” in Susana Nuccetelli, ed., New Essays on Semantic Externalism and Self-Knowledge (MIT, 2003), 143168  pdf

11. “Learning from Others,” Noûs, Vol. 36, No. 4 (2002): 525549  pdf

10. “Truth and Trans-Theoretical Terms,” in James Conant and Urszula Zeglen, eds., Hilary Putnam: Pragmatism and Realism (London:      Routledge,  2002), 167-185

9. “Is Skepticism about Self-Knowledge Coherent?” Philosophical Studies 105 (2001): 4358

8. “Carnap’s Logical Syntax,” in Richard Gaskin, ed., Grammar in Early Twentieth-Century Philosophy (London: Routledge, 2001), 218237

7. “Vagueness, Sharp Boundaries, and Supervenience Conditions,” Synthese 127 (2001): 303323

6. “The Very Idea of Sameness of Extension Across Time,” American Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 37, Number 3 (2000): 245268   pdf

5. “Bilgrami’s Theory of Belief and Meaning,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 58, No. 3 (1998): 613620

4. “Can We Take Our Words at Face Value?” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 56, Number 3 (1996): 499530

3. Review of Pursuit of Truth, rev. ed., by W. V. Quine, The Philosophical Review, Vol. 103, No. 3 (1994): 535541

2. “Realism and Rational Inquiry,” Philosophical Topics, Vol. 20, No. 1 (1992): 133

1. “Skepticism, Objectivity, and Brains in Vats,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 3 (1992): 239266