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Professor Cynthia Macdonald

Emeritus Professor 


Curriculum Vitae

BPhil (Oxford); DPhil (Oxford)

Research Interests

My primary interests lie in an area intersecting philosophy of mind and metaphysics (ontology and causality), and in cognitive science.  My research focuses on  mental causation and explanation, the nature of psychological explanation, and externalism and self-knowledge.  I am currently engaged in two main research projects.  One, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is on the topic of authoritative self-knowledge.  The other, with Graham Macdonald and funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand, is on the topic of mental causation and explanation in the special sciences.

Recent/Selected Publications


  • Varieties of Things: Foundations of Contemporary Metaphysics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. Pp. x+278. 

Edited Books:   

  • Emergence in Mind, ed. by Cynthia Macdonald and Graham Macdonald (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). Pp. x+304.
  • McDowell and His Critics, ed. by Cynthia Macdonald and Graham Macdonald (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 2006).  Pp. xix+247.
  • Knowing Our Own Minds, ed. by Crispin Wright, Barry Smith, and Cynthia Macdonald (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998).  Pp. x+450.

Papers/Chapters in Books:

  • ‘In My ‘Mind’s Eye’: Introspectionism, Detectivism, and the Basis of Authoritative Self-Knowledge’. Synthese 2014:DOI10.1007/s11229-014-0487-1
  • ‘Universals as Individuals and Their Role in the Special Sciences’.  In A. Guay and T. Pradeau (eds.), Individuals Across the Sciences.  New York: Oxford University Press. In Press.
  • ‘What is Colour? A Defence of Colour Primitivism’.  In M. Smith and R. Johnson (eds.), Passions and Projections: Themes From the Philosophy of Simon Blackburn.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.  In Press.
  • ‘The Epistemology of Meaning’ (with Graham Macdonald).  In D. Ryder, J. Kingsbury, and K. Williford (eds.) Millikan and Her Critics.  Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, November 2012. In Press. 
  • ‘McDowell’s Alternative Conceptions of the World’ (with William Fish). International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19:1 (January 2011): 87-94. 
  • ‘Emergence and Downward Causation’ (with Graham Macdonald). In C. Macdonald and G. Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 139-168. 
  • ‘The Identity Theory of Truth and the Realm of Reference: Where Dodd Goes Wrong’ (with William Fish).  Analysis 69.2  (April, 2009): 297-304. 
  • ‘Introspection’.  In A. Beckermann and B. McLaughlin (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 741-767. 
  • ‘Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and Authoritative Self-Knowledge’Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108, Part 3 (2008): 319-346. 
  • ‘Reductionism: Historiography and Psychology’ (with Graham Macdonald). In A. Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography.  Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008, pp. 342-352. 
  • ‘Explanation in Historiography’ (with Graham Macdonald).  In A. Tucker (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography.  Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008, pp. 131-141. 
  • ‘Introspection and Authoritative Self-Knowledge’.  Erkenntnis 67 (2) (September, 2007): 355-372. 
  • ‘Beyond Program Explanation’ (with Graham Macdonald).  In Geoffrey Brennan, Robert Goodin, and Michael Smith (eds.), Common Minds: Essays in Honour of Philip Pettit.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp 1-27. 
  • ‘On McDowell’s Identity Theory of Truth’ (with William Fish).  Analysis 67.1 (January, 2007): 36-41. 
  • ‘The Metaphysics of Mental Causation’ (with Graham Macdonald).  The Journal of Philosophy 103 (2006): 539-576. 
  • ‘Self-Knowledge and Inner Space’.  In C. Macdonald and G. Macdonald (eds.), McDowell and His Critics, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2006, pp. 73-89. 
  • ‘Mary Meets Molyneux: The Explanatory Gap and the Individuation of Phenomenal Concepts’.  Nous 38, no. 3 (September, 2004): 503-524. 
  • ‘Theories of Mind and the “Commonsense View”’.  Mind and Language 17 (2002): 467-488. 
  • ‘Shoemaker on Self-Knowledge and Inner Sense’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (1999): 711-738. 
  • ‘Externalism and Norms’.  In A. O’Hear (ed.), Current Issues in Philosophy of Mind.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 273-301. 
  • ‘Self-Knowledge and the ‘Inner Eye’’.  Philosophical Explorations 1 (1998): 83-106. 
  • ‘Externalism and Authoritative Self-Knowledge’.  In C. Wright, B. Smith, and C. Macdonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 123-154. 
  • ‘Tropes and Other Things’.  In S. Laurence and C. Macdonald (eds.), Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics.  Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1998, pp. 329-350. 
  • ‘How to Be Psychologically Relevant’ (with Graham Macdonald).  In C. Macdonald and G. Macdonald (eds.), Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation, Volume One.  Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1995, pp. 60- 77.

My philpapers profile: Macdonald