John MacFarlane

Department of Philosophy Tel: (510) 328-3546
University of California, Berkeley Fax: (510) 642-4164
314 Philosophy Hall Email:
Berkeley, CA 94720-2390 Web:

Academic Positions

University of California, Berkeley

Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris


Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, 2000.

M.A., Classics, University of Pittsburgh, 1997.

M.A., Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, 1994.

A.B. summa cum laude, Philosophy, Harvard University, 1991.

Fellowships and Awards

France-Berkeley Fund Grant for “Meaning and Probability,” with Paul Egré ($12,000), 2021, 2021

Fellow, Institute d’Études Avancées de Paris, 2016–17

Humanities Research Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 2016, 2008, 2003

Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2015–

Whitney J. Oates Fellow, Council of the Humanities, Princeton University, 2012

Research Enabling Grant, University of California, Berkeley, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2000

Nominee, Distinguished Faculty Mentors Award, University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Assembly, 2004

ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Junior Faculty, 2003

The Philosophical Quarterly Essay Prize for “Future Contingents and Relative Truth”, 2002

Junior Faculty Mentor Grant, University of California, Berkeley, 2002

Michigan Society of Fellows (declined), 2000

Alan Ross Anderson Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2000, 1995

Michael R. Bennett Prize in Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, 1999

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 1992

Thomas T. Hoopes Prize, Harvard College, 1991


    1. John MacFarlane, Philosophical Logic: A Contemporary Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2021). 258 pp.

    2. John MacFarlane, Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 368 pp.


    1. John MacFarlane, “Why Future Contingents Are Not All False”, Analytic Philosophy (2024).

    2. John MacFarlane, “Belief: What is it Good for?”, Erkenntnis (2023).

    3. John MacFarlane, “Equal Validity and Disagreement: Comments on Baghramian and Coliva’s Relativism”, Analysis 82 (2022), 499–506.

    4. John MacFarlane, “Lecture I: Vagueness and Communication”, Journal of Philosophy 117 (2020), 593–616.

    5. John MacFarlane, “Lecture II: Seeing Through the Clouds”, Journal of Philosophy 117 (2020), 617–642.

    6. John MacFarlane, “Lecture III: Indeterminacy as Indecision”, Journal of Philosophy 117 (2020), 643–667.

    7. John MacFarlane, “On Probabilistic Knowledge”, Res Philosophica 97 (2020), 97–108.

    8. John MacFarlane, “В каком смысле, если он вообще есть, логика нормативна по отношению к мышлению? [In What Sense (If Any) Is Logic Normative for Thought?]”, in Современная логика: Основания, предмет и перспективы развития [Modern Logic: Its Subject Matter, Foundations and Prospects], ed. Д.В. Зайцева [D. Zaitsev] (Москва [Moscow]: ИД Форум [Forum], 2018).

    9. John MacFarlane, “Vagueness as Indecision”, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90 (2016), 255-283.

    10. John MacFarlane, “Précis, Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2016), 168–170.

    11. John MacFarlane, “Replies to Raffman, Stanley, and Wright”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2016), 197–202.

    12. John MacFarlane, “Abelard’s Argument for Formality”, in Formal Approaches and Natural Language in Medieval Logic, ed. Laurent Cesalli and Alain de Libera and Frédéric Goubier (Barcelona, Roma: Brepols, 2015), 41–57.

    13. John MacFarlane, “Relativism”, in The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language, ed. Delia Graff Fara and Gillian Russell (New York: Routledge, 2012), 132-142.

    14. John MacFarlane, “Richard on Truth and Commitment”, Philosophical Studies 106 (2012), 445-453.

    15. John MacFarlane, “Simplicity Made Difficult”, Philosophical Studies 156 (2011), 441–448.

    16. John MacFarlane, “What Is Assertion?”, in Assertion, ed. Jessica Brown and Herman Cappelen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 79-96.

    17. John MacFarlane, “Relativism and Knowledge Attributions”, in Routledge Companion to Epistemology, ed. Sven Bernecker and Duncan Pritchard (London: Routledge, 2011), 536-544.

    18. John MacFarlane, “Epistemic Modals Are Assessment-Sensitive”, in Epistemic Modality, ed. Brian Weatherson and Andy Egan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 144-178.

    19. Niko Kolodny and John MacFarlane, “Ifs and Oughts”, Journal of Philosophy 107 (2010), 115-143.

    20. John MacFarlane, “Pragmatism and Inferentialism”, in Reading Brandom: On Making It Explicit, ed. Bernhard Weiss and Jeremy Wanderer (London: Routledge, 2010), 81-95.

    21. John MacFarlane, “Fuzzy Epistemicism”, in Cuts and Clouds: Vagueness, Its Nature, and Its Logic, ed. Richard Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 438-463.

    22. John MacFarlane, “Double Vision: Two Questions About the Neo-Fregean Program”, Synthese 170 (2009), 443-456.

    23. John MacFarlane, “Nonindexical Contextualism”, Synthese 166 (2009), 231-250.
      Reprinted in What is Said and What is Not, ed. Carlo Penco and Filippo Domaneschi (Stanford: CSLI, 2013), 243-263.

    24. John MacFarlane, “Brandom’s Demarcation of Logic”, Philosophical Topics 36 (2008), 55-62.

    25. John MacFarlane, “Boghossian, Bellarmine, and Bayes”, Philosophical Studies 141 (2008), 391-98.

    26. John MacFarlane, “Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths”, in Relative Truth, ed. Max Kölbel and Manuel García-Carpintero (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 81-102.

    27. John MacFarlane, “Semantic Minimalism and Nonindexical Contextualism”, in Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics, ed. G. Preyer and G. Peter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 240-50.

    28. John MacFarlane, “The Logic of Confusion”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2007), 700-708.

    29. John MacFarlane, “Relativism and Disagreement”, Philosophical Studies 132 (2007), 17-31.

    30. John MacFarlane, “The Things We (Sorta Kinda) Believe”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2006), 218-224.

    31. John MacFarlane, “Logical Constants”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005, substantive revision 2009, substantive revision 2015).

    32. John MacFarlane, “The Assessment Sensitivity of Knowledge Attributions”, Oxford Studies in Epistemology 1 (2005), 197-233.
      Reprinted in Epistemology: An Anthology (second edition), ed. Ernest Sosa and Jaegwon Kim and Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008).

    33. John MacFarlane, “Making Sense of Relative Truth”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (2005), 321-39.
      Reprinted in Relativism: A Compendium, ed. Michael Krausz (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010).
      Reprinted as “Dare un senso alla verità relativa”, Tropos 3 (2010).

    34. John MacFarlane, “Knowledge Laundering: Testimony and Sensitive Invariantism”, Analysis 65 (2005), 132-8.

    35. John MacFarlane, “McDowell’s Kantianism”, Theoria 70 (2004), 250-265.

    36. John MacFarlane, “Future Contingents and Relative Truth”, The Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2003), 321-36.
      Reprinted in Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge, ed. J. M. Fischer and Patrick Todd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

    37. John MacFarlane, “Frege, Kant, and the Logic in Logicism”, The Philosophical Review 111 (2002), 25-65.
      Reprinted in Gottlob Frege: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, vol. 1, ed. Michael Beany and Erich Reck (New York: Routledge, 2005).

    38. John MacFarlane, “Aristotle’s Definition of Anagnôrisis”, American Journal of Philology 121 (2000), 367-383.


    1. John MacFarlane, “Review of Andrew Bacon, Vagueness and Thought”, Philosophical Review 129 (2020), 153–158.

    2. John MacFarlane, “Review of Huw Price, Expressivism, Pragmatism, and Representationalism”, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014.02.09 (2014).

    3. John MacFarlane, “Review of Myles Burnyeat, A Map of Metaphysics Zeta”, The Philosophical Review 112 (2003), 97-99.

    4. John MacFarlane, “Review of Colin McGinn, Logical Properties: Identity, Existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth”, The Philosophical Review 111 (2002), 534-7.

    5. John MacFarlane, “Review of Stephen Neale, Facing Facts”, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2002.08.15 (2002).

    6. John MacFarlane, “Review of Michael Potter, Reason’s Nearest Kin: Philosophies of Arithmetic from Kant to Carnap”, Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (2001), 454-6.



Symposium on Vague Assertion (comments)

Change in View: A Changed View

Belief: What is it Good For?

Pandoc Support for Ipynb

Panel Discussion (remote)

Do Vague Utterances Communicate Probabilistic Information?

Book Symposium on Patrick Todd, The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are all False

Author Meets Critics, Maria Baghramian and Annalisa Coliva, Relativism

Indeterminacy as Indecision

Seeing Through the Clouds

Vagueness and Communication

Pandoc for TeXnicians

Pinning Down Plato’s Protagoras

Author Meets Critics Symposium on Sarah Moss’s book Probabilistic Knowledge

How to Resist Epistemicism

Comments on Jack Spencer, “Relative Truth, Absolute Correctness”

Is Logic a Normative Discipline?

Constraint Semantics

What You Ought to Believe

Vagueness as Indecision

An Expressivist Account of Vagueness

Commentator in Group Session on Experimental Work in Formal Semantics

Berkeley Book Chat on Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications

Author Meets Critics, Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications

Workshop on Assessment Sensitivity

Pandoc Fu

Assessment Sensitivity

Pandoc for Haskell Hackers

The Rationality of Relativism

Objective and Subjective Oughts

Relativism vs. Expressivism: the Case of Epistemic Modals

Comments on Caleb Perl, “How to Outfox Sly Pete: Semantics for Indicatives”

On the Medieval Distinction Between Formal and Material Consequence

Abelard’s Argument for Formality

The Sorites Paradox

Why Assessment Sensitivity?

A Puzzle about Modal Uncertainty

Comments on Code and Simons

Assessment Sensitivity

Five Seminars on Assessment Sensitivity

Ifs and Oughts

Varieties of Disagreement

Epistemic Modals: Relativism vs. Cloudy Contextualism

Richard on Truth and Commitment

Fuzzy Epistemicism

Six seminars on assessment sensitivity

What Is Assertion?

Ought: Between Objective and Subjective

In Defense of Degrees

Assertion, Information, and Commitment

Comments on Bob Brandom’s “Elaborating Abilities: The Expressive Role of Logic”

Truth and Subjectivity

Epistemic Modals Are Assessment-Sensitive

Comments on Peter Lasersohn, “Relative truth, speaker commitment, and control of implicit arguments”

The Logic of Confusion

Relativism and Disagreement

Relativist Semantics for Epistemic Modals

On Some Objections to Relativist Semantics

Epistemic Possibility

Nonindexical Contextualism

Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths

Making Sense of Relative Truth

Double Vision: Two Questions about the Neo-Fregean Programme

Non-indexical Contextualism

Semantic Minimalism and Non-Indexical Contextualism

Truth and Correct Belief

Making Sense of Relativism About Truth

How to Be a Relativist About Truth

In What Sense (If Any) Is Logic Normative for Thought?

Epistemic Friction: Reflections on Logic, Truth and Knowledge.

A Relativist Semantics for ‘S knows that p

Epistemic Modalities and Relative Truth

Frege, Kant, and the Logic in Logicism

Future Contingents and Relative Truth

A Valuational (but not Supervaluational) Approach to Vagueness

Frege’s Unofficial Arithmetic


What is Modeled by Truth in All Models?

Permutation Invariance and the Generality of Logic

Aristotelian Matter Unified

Aristotle’s Argument for the Substantiality of Matter

Boghossian on the Analyticity of Logic

Professional Activities

Co-organizer, “Paris-Berkeley Workshop on Probability and Meaning,” École Normale Superieur, Paris, June 28–29, 2022, and UC Berkeley, December 6–7, 2022.

Co-organizer, “Workshop on Contextual Indeterminism in Semantic Theory,” Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris, April 18–20, 2017.

Advisory Board, Review of Symbolic Logic.

Editorial Board, Journal of Semantics, 2009–2015.

Editorial Board (Philosophy of Logic), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Editorial Board (Philosophy of Language and Logic), Blackwell’s Philosophy Compass (2006–2012).

Editorial Board, Semantics and Pragmatics.

Member, New York Institute of Philosophy, Project on the Nature, Limits, and Significance of Disagreement (2007–2010).

Co-organizer, “Interpolations: A Conference in Honor of William Craig,” University of California, Berkeley, May 13, 2007.

APA Eastern Division Advisory Committee to the Program Committee (Logic, 2003–2006).

Referee for American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Blackwell Philosophy Compass, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Cognition, Ergo, Erkenntnis, Ethics, History and Philosophy of Logic, Journal of Philosophical Logic, Journal of Philosophy, Journal of Semantics, Journal of Symbolic Logic, Leverhulme Trust, Linguistics and Philosophy, Logique et Analyse, MIT Press, Mind, North American Summer School of Logic, Language and Information (NASSLLI)’s Student Session, Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, Nous, Oxford University Press, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Philosopher’s Imprint, Philosophia Mathematica, Philosophical Papers, Philosophical Review, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Review of Symbolic Logic, Semantics and Pragmatics, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Synthese, Thought, volume edited by Paul Egré.

Dissertations Supervised

As Chair:

As Co-Chair:

As Inside member:

As Outside member:

Honors Theses Supervised


Reading knowledge of Ancient Greek, Latin, French, German. Intermediate spoken French.