Jerrold Katz

Jerrold Jacob Katz (14 July 1932 – 7 February 2002) was an American philosopher and linguist.

Jerrold Katz
Jerrold Jacob Katz

14 July 1932
Died7 February 2002
Alma materPrinceton University
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of language
Notable ideas
Generative semantics
Realistic rationalism
Analyticity entails apriority[1]


After receiving a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University in 1960, Katz became a Research Associate in Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Philosophy there in 1963, and became Professor in 1969. From 1975 until his death, he was Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the City University of New York.

Within linguistics, Katz is best known for his theory of semantics in generative grammar, which he refers to as the autonomous theory of sense (ATS).[2] Katz was a staunch defender of rationalism (although not in a Cartesian/Fregean sense) and the metaphysical import of "essences". He argued extensively against the dominance of empiricism. Katz also argued, against W. V. O. Quine, that the analytic–synthetic distinction could be founded on syntactical features of sentences.[3][4][5]


  • Katz, J. J. & Fodor, J. A. (1963). The structure of a semantic theory. Language, 39(2), Apr–Jun, 170–210.
  • The Philosophy of Language (1966)
  • The Underlying Reality of Language and Its Philosophical Import (1971)
  • Language and other Abstract Objects (1981)
  • The Metaphysics of Meaning (1990)
  • Realistic Rationalism (2000)
  • Sense, Reference, and Philosophy (2004; posthum.)


  1. ^ Robert Hanna, Cognition, Content, and the A Priori: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind and Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 201.
  2. ^ Jerrold J. Katz Sense, Reference, and Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2004
  3. ^ Linsky, J. Analytical/Synthetic and Semantic Theory
  4. ^ Quine, W. V. O.: On a Suggestion of Katz
  5. ^ Katz, J: Where Things Stand Now with the Analytical/Synthetic Distinction