Robert Stainton

Distinguished Professor

Philosophy of Language, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind, Philosophical Issues in Cognitive Science

BA York; PhD MIT


Office: Stevenson Hall 3126

Much of my work lies at the intersection of philosophy of language and theoretical linguistics. I am interested in “mainstream” issues, such as the syntax-semantics-pragmatics boundaries, the metaphysical grounding of linguistic facts, and the proper evidence-base for the study of human languages. However, my interests also extend to less usual subjects at said intersection, such as clinical pragmatics (especially communication deficits in Autism) and the history of philosophy of language.  

Beyond language and linguistics, I am able to supervise in philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. I can, in a pinch, serve on dissertation committees in Analytic metaphysics, meta-ethics and certain periods of history of philosophy.

Recent Publications


Discourse, Structure and Linguistic Choice (Springer, 2018).

Sourcebook in the History of Philosophy of Language (with M. Cameron & B. Hill eds.). Springer, 2017.

Linguistic Content: New Essays on the History of Philosophy of Language (with M. Cameron eds.). Oxford University Press, 2015.


"Slurs and register: A case study in meaning pluralism," with Diaz‐Legaspe, Justina and Liu, Chang. Mind and Language 35 (2):156-182 (2020).

"Emociones, ofensa y registro sociolingüístico: el caso de los “usos distantes” de los términos discriminatorios", (with J. Diaz Legaspe). In Critica 51 (153):3-29 (2020).

"Re-reading Anscombe on ‘I’". In Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (1):70-93 (2019).

"What Distinguishes Assertion?". In Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 38:33-37, (2018).

"An Anscombean Reference for ‘I’?" (with A. Botterell). In Croatian Journal of Philosophy 18 (3):343-361 (2018).

"Logical Form and the Vernacular Revisited" (with A. Botterell). In Mind and Language 32 (4):495-522 (2017).