Skip to main content
Gabriel Segal

Professor Gabriel Segal

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy


Professor Gabriel Segal received a BA in Philosophy from UCL in 1981. His next stop was Oxford, where he received his BPhil in 1983. He then expanded his horizons by going to MIT to study for his PhD, which he completed in 1987.  His first teaching appointment was at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. Feeling the need to return to the land of real ale and cricket, he accepted a lectureship at King's in 1989.

Research interests

  • Psychology & cognitive science
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Philosophy of language
  • Formal semantics

Professor Segal's recent research has chiefly focussed on the theory of addiction and recovery.

Selected publications


  • Interpreting Davidson In collaboration with Petr Kotatko and Peter Pagin, CSLI Publications (2001), pps 313 / ISBN: 978-1-575-86335-1
  • A Slim Book about Narrow Content, Bradford Books, MIT Press (2000), pps 177 / ISBN: 978-0-262-69230-4
  • Knowledge of Meaning: An Introduction to Semantic Theory, In collaboration with Richard Larson, MIT Press (1995), pps 633 / ISBN: 978-0-262-62100-7
  • Addiction & Choice: Rethinking the relationship, in collaboration with Nick Heather, Oxford University Press (2017), pps 491/  ISBN: 978-0-19-872722-4

  • Twelve Steps to Psychological Good Health and Serenity: a Guide, Grosvenor Publishing Limited (2013), pps 72/ ISBN:978-1-78148-846-1

Online publications

  • Supervenient Spirituality and the Meaning of Life (pdf)
  • Understanding Addiction: Donald Davidson and the Problem of Akrasia (pdf)
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: How An Anarcho-Syndicalist Collective Can Be An Addiction Therapist (pdf, 160KB)
  • Alcoholism, Disease & Insanity (pdf - includes commentaries from Professor Nick Heather and Professor George Graham, and a response from Segal)
  • Reference, Causal Powers, Externalist Intuitions and Unicorns (pdf, 46 KB) 
  • Truth and Meaning (pdf, 64 KB)
  • Intentionality (pdf, 75 KB) 
  • Ignorance of Meaning (pdf, 34 KB) 
  • Keep Making Sense (pdf, 41 KB) 
  • The Causal Inefficacy of Content (pdf, 379 KB) 
  • Poverty of Stimulus Arguments Concerning Language and Folk Psychology (pdf, 48 KB) 
  • Cognitive Content and Propositional Attitude Attribution (pdf, 42 KB) 
  • Five Flies in the Ointment: Some Challenges for Traditional Semantic Theory (pdf, 290 KB) 
  • Indexal Predicates (pdf, 384 KB) 
  • Quotation Mark Quiz

    (pdf, 50 KB) 

Work in Progress

  • Supervenient Spirituality and the Meaning of Life in preparation for Death And Anti-Death, Volume 11: Ten Years After Donald Davidson (1917-2003) ed. Charles Tandy
  • “Unicorn houses” and Other Compound Nominals

  • "Intentionality" (pdf, 75KB) an invited article for The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Analytic Philosophy, edited by Frank Jackson and Michael Smith.
  • "On a Unified Treatment of Definite and Indefinite Descriptions", in collaboration with Peter Ludlow, intended for submission to a philosophical journal.
  • "Children's Understanding of Referential Opacity", in collaboration with Jill de Villiers, intended for submission to a psychology journal.
  • "The Segal Discussion", a video interview with Donald Davidson, Philosophy International Publications, (1997). 

Academic journals

  • "On a Difference between Language and Thought", Linguistics and Philosophy.
  • "Narrow Content", an invited article submitted to The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science"
  • "Ignorance of Meaning

    " (pdf, 34KB) in an OUP volume on the philosophy of language, edited by Alexander Barber. 

Previous publications

  • "The Topiary Theory of Language: A Review of the Debate between Quine and Chomsky", M. I. T. Working Papers in Linguistics Vol. 8, eds. Fukui, N., et al., (1986).
  • "On Saying Thut", in collaboration with Margaret Speas, Mind and Language, (1986): 124-132.
  • "The Return of the Individual", Mind, (1989): 39-57.
  • "A Preference for Sense and Reference", The Journal of Philosophy, (1989): 73-89.
  • "Seeing what is not there", The Philosophical Review, (1989): 189-214
  • "The Causal Efficacy of Content", in collaboration with Elliott Sober, Philosophical Studies, (1991): 1-30.
  • "Defence of a Reasonable Individualism" Mind, (1991): 485-494.
  • "In the Mood for a Semantic Theory", Proceedings of The Aristotelian Society, (1991): 103-118.
  • "Priorities in the Philosophy of Thought", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, supp. vol. LXVIII (1994): 107-130.
  • "The Epistemology of Belief", Blackwell's Companion to the Mind, ed., S. Guttenplan, (1994): 146-153.
  • "The Modularity of Theory of Mind", Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. Peter Carruthers and Peter Smith, Cambridge University Press, (1995): 141-158.
  • "Truth and Sense", Frege: Sense and Reference 100 Years On, eds. John Biro and Petr Kotatko, Kluwer, (1995): 15-25.
  • "Synaesthesia: Implications for Modularity of Mind", Synaesthesia, eds. Simon Baron-Cohen and John Harrison, Blackwell, (1996): 211-224.
  • "Frege's Puzzle as some Problems in Science", Rivista di Linguistica, (1996): 375-89.
  • "Representing Representations", Language and Thought: Interdisciplinary Themes. eds. Peter Carruthers and Jill Boucher, Cambridge University Press, (1998): 146-162
  • "Sense and Reference", The MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.
  • "Twin Earth", The MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.
  • "Individualism, Methodological", The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • "Indirect Discourse", The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • "Philosophy of Psychology: Psychoanalysis; Connectionism" Philosophy: a Guide Through the Subject II, ed. A. Grayling, Oxford University Press, (1998): 48-67.
  • "How a Theory of Truth can do Duty as a Theory of Meaning", Donald Davidson: Truth Meaning and Knowledge, ed. U. Zeglen, Routledge, (1999): 48-57.
  • "Four Arguments for the Indeterminacy of Translation", Knowledge, Language and Logic: Questions for Quine, eds. A. Orenstein and P. Kotatko, Kluwer Academic Publications, (2000): 131-41.
  • "Two Theories of Names", Mind and Language (2001): 547-63. 

Reviews and commentaries

  • "P. Pettit and J. McDowell, Subject, Thought and Context", Mind and Language, (1986): 288-300.
  • "W. G. Lycan, Consciousness", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, (1990): 240-244.
  • "J. Garfield, Belief in Psychology", The Philosophical Review (1991): 463-466.
  • "M. Richard, Propositional Attitudes", Mind, (1991): 408-410.
  • "Modularity and Representation: commentary on S. Baron-Cohen 'How to build a baby that reads minds'" Current Psychology of Cognition, (1994): 706-711.
  • "Content and Computation: A Critical Notice of Jerry Fodor's The Elm and the Expert", Mind and Language, (1997): 491-501.
  • "Cartesian Psychology and Physical Minds, by Robert Wilson", The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1997): 151-157.
  • "Commentary on Derek Bolton 'Encoding of Meaning'", Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, (1997): 269-273.