Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
PhD, 1994
DeKalb, Illinois, United States of America
  •  193
    Disjunctive properties: Multiple realizations
    Journal of Philosophy 98 (3): 111-136. 2001.
  •  147
    Is even thought compositional?
    Philosophical Studies 157 (2): 299-322. 2012.
    Fodor (Mind Lang 16:1–15, 2001 ) endorses the mixed view that thought, yet not language, is compositional. That is, Fodor accepts the arguments of radical pragmatics that language is not compositional, but he claims these arguments do not apply to thought. My purpose here is to evaluate this mixed position: Assuming that the radical pragmaticists are right that language is not compositional, what arguments can be provided in support of the claim that thought is compositional? Before such argumen…Read more
  •  120
    Review: Minimal Semantics (review)
    Mind 116 (462): 396-402. 2007.
  •  106
    Truth conditional semantics is the project of ‘determining a way of assigning truth conditions to sentences based on A) the extension of their constituents and B) their syntactic mode of combination’. This research program has been subject to objections that take the form of underdetermination arguments, an influential instance of which is presented by Travis: … consider the words ‘The leaf is green,’ speaking of a given leaf, and its condition at a given time, used so as to mean what they do me…Read more
  •  91
    Three Challenges for Indexicalism
    Mind and Language 27 (4): 435-465. 2012.
    Indexicalism is a strategy for defending truth-conditional semantics from under-determination arguments. According to indexicalism the class of indexical expressions includes not only the obvious indexicals, e.g. demonstratives and personal pronouns, but also unobvious indexical expressions, expressions which allegedly have been discovered to be indexicals. This paper argues that indexicalism faces significant obstacles that have yet to be overcome. The issue that divides indexicalism and truth-…Read more
  •  91
    Disjunctive Properties: Multiple Realizations
    Journal of Philosophy 98 (3): 111-136. 2001.
  •  79
    The problem of negative existentials arises because utterances of such sentences have the paradoxical feature of denying what they presuppose, thus undermining their own truth. There are only two general strategies for solving the problem within the constraints traditional static semantics, and both strategies attempt to explain away this paradoxical feature. I argue that both strategies are fundamentally flawed, and that an adequate account of negative existentials must countenance, and not exp…Read more
  •  78
    On denying presuppositions
    Synthese 194 (6). 2017.
    Strawson :96–118, 1964) argued that definite NPs trigger presuppositions as an aspect of their conventional meanings, and this semantic conception of presupposition triggers is incorporated into the binding theory of presuppositions. The phenomenon of presupposition denials, however, presents a problem for the semantic conception of presupposition triggers, for in such denials the alleged semantic presuppositions seem to be “cancelled” by a negation operator. Geurts :274–307, 1998; Presuppositio…Read more
  •  48
    Varieties of the generality constraint
    Manuscrito 34 (2): 397-434. 2011.
    Since its introduction by Evans , the generality constraint has been invoked by various philosophers for different purposes. Our purpose here is, first, to clarify what precisely the GC states by way of an interpretive framework, the GC Schema, and second, to demonstrate in terms of this framework some problems that arise if one invokes the GC without clearly specifying an appropriate interpretation. By utilizing the GC Schema these sorts of problems can be avoided, and we thus propose it as a t…Read more
  •  44
    A Non‐Alethic Approach to Faultless Disagreement
    Dialectica 69 (4): 517-550. 2015.
    This paper motivates and describes a non-alethic approach to faultless disagreement involving predicates of personal taste. In section 1 I describe problems faced by Sundell's indexicalist approach, and MacFarlane's relativist approach. In section 2 I develop an alternative, non-alethic, approach. The non-alethic approach is broadly expressivist in that it endorses both the negative semantic thesis that simple sentences containing PPTs do not semantically encode complete propositions and the pos…Read more
  •  34
    Multipropositionalism and Necessary a Posteriori identity Statements
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (4): 902-934. 2019.
    We provide an account of necessary a posteriori identity statements that relies upon Perry’s multipropositionalism. On our account an utterance of, e.g., ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, semantically makes available several propositions, one of which is necessary (and a priori) and another of which is a posteriori (and contingent). Since our view resembles two-dimensionalism, one might assume that it is undermined by the sorts of nesting arguments that Soames and others have raised against two-dimensio…Read more
  •  29
    On Quine: New Essays
    Philosophical Review 106 (4): 622-626. 1997.
    Several of the better essays in On Quine are critical of Quine’s views. In “Against Naturalized Epistemology,” Bas Van Fraassen challenges empiricists to provide a self-consistent statement of their view; if empiricism is the view that “experience is our one and only source of information,” then that piece of information must itself have experience only as its source. Van Fraassen argues that Quine’s naturalized epistemology cannot meet this challenge and thus “is itself a metaphysics of the sor…Read more
  •  27
    The rhetorical relations approach to indirect speech acts: Problems and prospects (review)
    Pragmatics and Cognition 17 (1): 43-76. 2009.
    Asher and Lascarides maintain that speech act types, the sorts of linguistic actions described and categorized, most influentially, by Austin and Searle are rhetorical relations. This relational account of speech acts is problematic for two reasons: Despite Asher and Lascarides ingenious appeal to dot type speech acts, the relational account is incompatible with the widespread phenomenon of indirect speech; only some speech acts are plausibly identified with rhetorical relations. These problems …Read more
  •  24
  •  22
    On Quine: New Essays
    Philosophical Review 106 (4): 622. 1997.
    Several of the better essays in On Quine are critical of Quine’s views. In “Against Naturalized Epistemology,” Bas Van Fraassen challenges empiricists to provide a self-consistent statement of their view; if empiricism is the view that “experience is our one and only source of information,” then that piece of information must itself have experience only as its source. Van Fraassen argues that Quine’s naturalized epistemology cannot meet this challenge and thus “is itself a metaphysics of the sor…Read more
  •  21
    Unarticulated Tension
    In François Recanati, Isidora Stojanovic & Neftali Villanueva (eds.), Context-Dependence, Perspective and Relativity, Mouton De Gruyter. pp. 6--19. 2010.
  •  18
    Paradigmatic uses of negative existentials such as ‘Vulcan does not exist’ are problematic because they present the interpreter with a pragmatic paradox: a speaker who uses such a sentence seems to be asserting something that is incompatible with what she presupposes. An adequate solution must therefore explain why we interpret paradigmatic uses of negative existentials as saying something true, even though such uses present us with a pragmatic paradox. I provide such an explanation by analyzing…Read more
  •  17
    To solve the referential sub-problem of negative existentials one must explain why we interpret uses of, e.g., ‘Sherlock Holmes doesn’t exist’ as saying something coherent and intuitively true, even though the speaker purports to refer to something. Pragmatic Meinongism solves this problem by allowing ‘does not exist’ to be pragmatically modulated to express an inclusive sense under which it can be satisfied by something. I establish three points in defense of pragmatic Meinongism: it is superio…Read more
  •  12
    En "Existenciales negativos como denegaciones metalingüísticas" (García 2012), Eduardo García presenta una propuesta metalingüística sobre los existenciales negativos y argumenta en contra de la propuesta de la corrección dinámica (Clapp 2008). Aquí argumento que aunque la posición de García es atractiva porque satisface un criterio importante que muchas interpretaciones de los existenciales negativos no logran hacer justicia, no presenta una posición convincente en contra de la propuesta de la …Read more
  •  5
    The rhetorical relations approach to indirect speech acts
    Pragmatics and Cognition 17 (1): 43-76. 2009.
    Asher and Lascarides maintain that speech act types, the sorts of linguistic actions described and categorized, most influentially, by Austin and Searle are rhetorical relations. This relational account of speech acts is problematic for two reasons: Despite Asher and Lascarides ingenious appeal to dot type speech acts, the relational account is incompatible with the widespread phenomenon of indirect speech; only some speech acts are plausibly identified with rhetorical relations. These problems …Read more
  •  3
    Philosophy for Us (edited book)
    Cognella. 2017.
    Philosophy for Us is a collection of accessible and engaging philosophical papers on topics that matter to all of us. The text features select papers written by contemporary, professional philosophers specifically for beginning students. These papers are organized into five sections, each dealing with a philosophical issue or problem: Is there a God?; Do we have free will?; Are there objective moral truths?; What sort of thing is a person?; Is it moral to eat animals? Each section includes a bri…Read more
  • What Unarticulated Constituents Could Not Be
    In Joseph K. Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth: Investigations in Philosophical Semantics., Seven Bridges Press. pp. 231--256. 2002.
  • Seeing Through Opacity: A Defense of the Russellian View of Propositional Attitudes
    Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1994.
    The primary purposes of my dissertation are, first, to motivate Russellian theories of propositional attitudes and propositional attitude ascriptions by criticizing Fregean theories, and second, to defend Russellian theories from the arguments and problems posed by the phenomenon of opacity. A theory of propositional attitudes and propositional attitude ascriptions is Russellian just in case it respects both the Principle of Direct Reference, and the Principle of Semantic Innocence. The Principl…Read more