Harvard University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2009
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Language
  •  216
    Truth, Paradox, and Ineffable Propositions
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1): 64-104. 2013.
    I argue that on very weak assumptions about truth (in particular, that there are coherent norms governing the use of "true"), there is a proposition absolutely inexpressible with conventional language, or something very close. I argue for this claim "constructively": I use a variant of the Berry Paradox to reveal a particular thought for my readership to entertain that very strongly resists conventional expression. I gauge the severity of this expressive limitation within a taxonomy of expressiv…Read more
  •  150
    De se belief and rational choice
    Synthese 190 (3): 491-508. 2013.
    The Sleeping Beauty puzzle has dramatized the divisive question of how de se beliefs should be integrated into formal theories of rational belief change. In this paper, I look ahead to a related question: how should de se beliefs be integrated into formal theories of rational choice? I argue that standard decision theoretic frameworks fail in special cases of de se uncertainty, like Sleeping Beauty. The nature of the failure reveals that sometimes rational choices are determined independently of…Read more
  •  98
    De Re Belief and Cumming's Puzzle
    Analytic Philosophy 56 (1): 45-74. 2015.
    Cumming (2008) uses a puzzle about belief ascription to argue against a Millian semantics, and in favor of a semantics on which names are assigned denotations relative to a shiftable variable assignment. I use Cumming's puzzle to showcase the virtues of a rival, broadly Stalnakerian, treatment of attitude ascriptions that safeguards Millianism. I begin by arguing that Cumming's solution seems unable to account for substitutivity data that helps constitute the very puzzle he uses to motivate his …Read more
  •  84
    Anomaly and Quantification
    Noûs 49 (1): 147-176. 2015.
    I argue for two theses about semantically anomalous utterances (more commonly called "category mistakes") like "sequestered slaps reel evergreen rights". First, semantic anomaly generates a unique form of semantically enforced quantifier domain restriction. Second, the best explanation for why anomaly interacts with quantifiers in this way is that anomalous utterances are truth-valueless. After arguing for these points, I trace out two consequences these theses have in semantics and logic. First…Read more
  •  79
    What is a truth-value gap?
    Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (6): 503-534. 2014.
    Truth-value gaps have received little attention from a foundational perspective, a fact which has rightfully opened up gap theories to charges of vacuousness. This paper develops an account of the foundations of gap-like behavior which has some hope of avoiding such charges. I begin by reviewing and sharpening a powerful argument of Dummett’s to constrain the options that gap theorists have to make sense of their views. I then show that within these strictures, we can give an account of gaps by …Read more
  •  70
    The Morality of Blackmail
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 40 (3): 165-196. 2012.
    Blackmail raises a pair of parallel legal and moral problems, sometimes referred to as the "paradox of blackmail". It is sometimes legal and morally permissible to ask someone for money, or to threaten to release harmful information about them, while it is illegal and morally impermissible to do these actions jointly. I address the moral version of this paradox by bringing instances of blackmail under a general account of wrongful coercion. According to this account, and contrary to the appearan…Read more
  •  24
    Magidor on anomaly and truth-value gaps
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (5): 513-528. 2016.
    In Category Mistakes, Ofra Magidor provides two arguments against the view that category mistakes express propositions that are not truth-evaluable at some world. I argue that her first, Williamsonian argument against this view begs the question, and that her second argument rests on a misleading conception of how semantic defect results in infelicity judgments. I conclude by conceding that she is still correct to stress that the view she opposes face noteworthy foundational and empirical challe…Read more
  •  22
    De Se Exceptionalism and Frege Puzzles
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6 1057-1086. 2019.
    De se exceptionalism is the view, notably championed by Perry (1979) and Lewis (1979), that our characteristically 'first-personal' ways of thinking about ourselves present unique challenges to standard views of propositional attitudes like belief. Though the view has won many adherents, it has recently come under a barrage of deserved criticism. A key claim of detractors is that classic examples used to motivate de se exceptionalism from de se ignorance or misidentification are nothing more tha…Read more