William Lycan

Distinguished Visiting Professor


PhD., 1970, Philosophy, University of Chicago
M.A., 1967, Philosophy, University of Chicago
B.A., 1966, Mathematics and Music, Amherst College


I work primarily in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, with a subspecialty in epistemology.  In philosophy of mind I am best known for my views on various issues of consciousness.  In philosophy of language, my work in semantics and pragmatics is informed by theoretical linguistics.  In epistemology I defend a minority theory of justification: that a belief is justified by its explanatory coherence with other beliefs, and I apply that to philosophy itself.  Most recently, I have been investigating perceptual representation in sense modalities other than vision, including smell, taste and touch.  My new book, Perceptual Content, is about to appear from Oxford University Press.


Lycan, W.G. 2023. “What Is It We Touch?”  In A. Mroczko-Wąsowicz and R. Grush (eds.), Sensory Individuals, Properties, and Perceptual Objects. Oxford University Press.

Lycan, W.G. 2020. “Hearing As.”  In B. Brogaard and D. Gatzia (eds.), The Epistemology of Non-Visual Perception. Oxford University Press.

Lycan, W.G. 2019. On Evidence in Philosophy.  Oxford University Press.

Lycan, W.G. 2018. “Metaphysics and the Paronymy of Names.” American Philosophical Quarterly 55: 405-19.

Lycan, W.G. 2012. “Desire Considered as a Propositional Attitude.” Philosophical Perspectives 26: 201-15.

Lycan, W.G. 2006. “The Meaning of ‘Water’: An Unsolved Problem.” Philosophical Issues 16: 184-99.

Lycan, W.G. 2001. Real Conditionals. Oxford University Press.

Lycan, W.G. 1996. Consciousness and Experience. Bradford Books / MIT Press.

Lycan, W.G. 1988. Judgement and Justification. Cambridge University Press.

Lycan, W.G. 1987. Consciousness. Bradford Books / MIT Press,

Lycan, W.G. 1984. Logical Form in Natural Language. Bradford Books / MIT Press.

William Lycan
Contact Information
CV LycanVita
Office Location302 Manchester Hall
Office HoursWednesdays 2pm-4pm