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 15 November 2016

Forthcoming publications (in press)


Wittgenstein on Rules, in Hans-Johann Glock and John Hyman, eds., A Companion to Wittgenstein (Wiley-Blackwell 2017) 

Carnap, Quine, and Putnam on Methods of Inquiry. Cambridge University Press, 2017





Debating Self-Knowledge
 Co-authored with Anthony Brueckner
Cambridge University Press, 2012
  Paperback Edition, 2015

Link to CUP






truth and words

Truth & 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



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

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

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, 2015), pp. 123407

"Introduction to 'Preestablished Harmony' and 'Response to Gary Ebbs',” in Janssen-Lauret and Kemp, eds., Quine and his Place in History (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2015), pp. 2128

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

“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

"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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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