photo of Mark McCullagh

Mark McCullagh

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

I am a philosopher at the University of Guelph, in the very pleasant city of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. (It’s pronounced “gwelf.”) My academic training was at the University of Toronto and the University of Pittsburgh where I completed my PhD under the direction of Robert Brandom.


Fall 2020

Winter 2020


In addition to normal departmental service responsibilities I am the Editorial Board Coordinator of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy.


I work mostly in philosophy of language and epistemology. These days I’m interested in the theory of concept possession, in particular the challenges to it posed by the phenomena first highlighted in Benson Mates’s famous examples of expressions multiply embedded within the scopes of attitude verbs. Attention to these phenomena shows, I believe, that concept possession comes in degrees, and that the kind of use one wants to make of a concept depends on the degree of competence with it that one has achieved. In particular there is a social dimension to concept possession that has gone unexplored. On my view, you can, in a sense, “piggyback” on others’ possession of a concept—by employing it in specifications of their thoughts, beliefs and statements—on the way towards acquiring the ability to have those thoughts and beliefs, and make those statements, oneself. This view has implications for armchair philosophical methodology, and for accounts of concept acquisition.

Recent publications:

Distributed utterances. In The Architecture of Context and Context-sensitivity, edited by Tadeusz Ciecierski and Paweł Grabarczy, 113–24. Dordrecht: Springer, 2020.
Kinds of monsters and kinds of compositionality. Analysis 78 (2018): 657–66.
Russellianism unencumbered. Philosophical Studies 174 (2017): 2819–43.
Scare-quoting and incorporation. In The Semantics and Pragmatics of Quotation, edited by Paul Saka and Michael Johnson, 3–34. Dordrecht: Springer, 2017.

Full list of publications, with abstracts



Mail: Dept of Philosophy, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada N1G 2W1

Offfice: 332 MacKinnon Building. (How to find the Department of Philosophy)

Office hours: Tuesdays 2:00–3:00 pm (or by appointment—email me).

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