•  462
    What is Said?
    Noûs 50 (4): 759-793. 2016.
    It is sometimes argued that certain sentences of natural language fail to express truth conditional contents. Standard examples include e.g. Tipper is ready and Steel is strong enough. In this paper, we provide a novel analysis of truth conditional meaning using the notion of a question under discussion. This account explains why these types of sentences are not, in fact, semantically underdetermined, provides a principled analysis of the process by which natural language sentences can come to h…Read more
  •  476
    Names Are Variables
    Philosophical Review 129 (1): 53-94. 2020.
    MILLIANISM and DESCRIPTIVISM are without question the two most prominent views with respect to the semantics of proper names. However, debates between MILLIANS and DESCRIPTIVISTS have tended to focus on a fairly narrow set of linguistic data and an equally narrow set of problems, mainly how to solve with Frege's puzzle and how to guarantee rigidity. In this article, the author focuses on a set of data that has been given less attention in these debates—namely, so-called predicative uses, bound u…Read more
  •  795
    Against the Russellian open future
    Mind 126 (504). 2017.
    Todd (2016) proposes an analysis of future-directed sentences, in particular sentences of the form 'will(φ)', that is based on the classic Russellian analysis of definite descriptions. Todd's analysis is supposed to vindicate the claim that the future is metaphysically open while retaining a simple Ockhamist semantics of future contingents and the principles of classical logic, i.e. bivalence and the law of excluded middle. Consequently, an open futurist can straightforwardly retain classical lo…Read more
  •  18
    On describing
    Dissertation, St. Andrews. 2011.
    The overarching topic of this dissertation is the semantics and pragmatics of definite descriptions. It focuses on the question whether sentences such as ‘the king of France is bald’ literally assert the existence of a unique king or simply presuppose the existence of such a king. One immediate obstacle to resolving this question is that immediate truth value judgments about such sentences are particularly unstable; some elicit a clear intuition of falsity whereas others simply seem awkward or s…Read more
  •  68
    The Predicative Predicament
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (3): 571-595. 2016.
    The-Predicativism is the view that names are count nouns. For example, the meaning of the name ‘Louise’ is roughly the property of being called Louise. Moreover, proponents of this view maintain that names that are ostensibly in argument position of a predicate are covert definite descriptions. In recent years, The-Predicativism has acquired a number of new supporters, mainly Elbourne (), Matushansky (), and Fara (). And while it was pointed out by Kripke () that these kinds of views generally s…Read more
  •  196
    It is widely agreed that sentences containing a non-denoting description embedded in the scope of a propositional attitude verb have true de dicto interpretations, and Russell's (1905) analysis of definite descriptions is often praised for its simple analysis of such cases, cf. e.g. Neale (1990). However, several people, incl. Elbourne (2005, 2009), Heim (1991), and Kripke (2005), have contested this by arguing that Russell's analysis yields incorrect predictions in non-doxastic attitude context…Read more
  •  1114
    Type-Ambiguous Names
    Mind 126 (503): 715-767. 2017.
    The orthodox view of proper names, Millianism, provides a very simple and elegant explanation of the semantic contribution of referential uses of names–names that occur as bare singulars and as the argument of a predicate. However, one problem for Millianism is that it cannot explain the semantic contribution of predicative uses of names. In recent years, an alternative view, so-called the-predicativism, has become increasingly popular. According to the-predicativists, names are uniformly count …Read more
  •  344
    A Problem for Predicativism Not Solved by Predicativism
    Semantics and Pragmatics. forthcoming.
    In 'The Reference Book' (2012), Hawthorne and Manley observe the following contrast between (1) and (2): (1) In every race John won. (2) In every race, the colt won. The name 'John' in (1) must intuitively refer to the same single individual for each race. However, the description 'the colt' in (2) has a co-varying reading, i.e. a reading where for each race it refers to a different colt. This observation is a prima facie problem for proponents of so-called The-Predicativism which is the view th…Read more
  •  163
    Descriptions, truth value intuitions, and questions
    Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (6): 583-617. 2009.
    Since the famous debate between Russell (Mind 14: 479–493, 1905, Mind 66: 385–389, 1957) and Strawson (Mind 59: 320–344, 1950; Introduction to logical theory, 1952; Theoria, 30: 96–118, 1964) linguistic intuitions about truth values have been considered notoriously unreliable as a guide to the semantics of definite descriptions. As a result, most existing semantic analyses of definites leave a large number of intuitions unexplained. In this paper, I explore the nature of the relationship between…Read more
  •  178
    Against the argument from convention
    Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (6): 515-532. 2012.
    In recent years, a new argument in favor of Donnellan’s (Philos Rev 77: 281–304, 1966) semantic distinction between attributive and referential descriptions has been proposed by Michael Devitt and Marga Reimer. This argument is based on two empirical premises concerning regularity of use and processing ease. This paper is an attempt to demonstrate (a) that these empirical observations are dubious and fail to license the conclusion of the argument and (b) that if the argument were sound, it would…Read more