University of St. Andrews
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2013
Central District, Hong Kong
  • The aim of this chapter is to explore various ways of thinking about the concept of manipulation in order to capture both current and potentially future instances of machine manipulation, manipulation on the part of everything from the Facebook advertising algorithm to super-intelligent AGI. Three views are considered: a conservative one, which slightly tweaks extant influence-based theories of manipulation; a dismissive view according to which it doesn't matter much if machines are literally ma…Read more
  •  18
    Generics and Metalinguistic Negotiation
    Synthese 201 (50): 1-46. 2023.
    In this paper, we consider how the notion of metalinguistic negotiation interacts with various theories of generics. The notion of metalinguistic negotiation we discuss stems from previous work from two of us (Plunkett and Sundell). Metalinguistic negotiations are disputes in which speakers disagree about normative issues concerning language, such as issues about what a given word should mean in the relevant context, or which of a range of related concepts a word should express. In a metalinguis…Read more
  •  13
    Language Signaling High Proportions and Generics Lead to Generalizing, but Not Essentializing, for Novel Social Kinds
    with Elena Hoicka, Jennifer Saul, Eloise Prouten, and Laura Whitehead
    Cognitive Science 45 (11). 2021.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 45, Issue 11, November 2021.
  •  27
    Online Communication
    The Philosophers' Magazine 94 90-95. 2021.
    We explore the speech act of amplification and its newfound prominence in online speech environments. Then we point to some puzzles this raises for the strategy of ‘fighting speech with more speech’.
  •  262
    Generics and the Metaphysics of Kinds
    Philosophy Compass (7): 1-14. 2021.
    Recent years have seen renewed interest in the semantics of generics. And a relatively mainstream view in this work is that the semantics of generics must appeal to kinds. But what are kinds? Can we learn anything about their nature by looking at how semantic theories of generics appeal to them? In this article, we overview recent work on the semantics of generics and consider their consequences for our understanding of the metaphysics of kinds.
  •  120
    Why we should keep talking about fake news
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (4): 471-487. forthcoming.
    In response to Habgood-Coote (2019) and a growing number of scholars who argue that academics and journalists should stop talking about fake news and abandon the term, we argue that the reasons which have been offered for eschewing the term 'fake news' are not sufficient to justify such abandonment. Prima facie, then, we take ourselves and others to be justified in continuing to talk about fake news.
  •  55
    In a recent paper (Haslanger 2016), Sally Haslanger argues for the importance of structural explanation. Roughly, a structural explana- tion of the behaviour of a given object appeals to features of the struc- tures—physical, social, or otherwise—the object is embedded in. It is opposed to individualistic explanations, where what is appealed to is just the object and its properties. For example, an individualistic explanation of why someone got the grade they did might appeal to features of the …Read more
  •  26
    Between Logic and the World: An Integrated Theory of Generics (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 16. 2016.
  •  374
    Linguistic Interventions and Transformative Communicative Disruption
    In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 417-434. 2020.
    What words we use, and what meanings they have, is important. We shouldn't use slurs; we should use 'rape' to include spousal rape (for centuries we didn’t); we should have a word which picks out the sexual harassment suffered by people in the workplace and elsewhere (for centuries we didn’t). Sometimes we need to change the word-meaning pairs in circulation, either by getting rid of the pair completely (slurs), changing the meaning (as we did with 'rape'), or adding brand new word-meaning pairs…Read more
  •  757
    What’s New About Fake News?
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2). 2019.
    The term "fake news" ascended rapidly to prominence in 2016 and has become a fixture in academic and public discussions, as well as in political mud-slinging. In the flurry of discussion, the term has been applied so broadly as to threaten to render it meaningless. In an effort to rescue our ability to discuss—and combat—the underlying phenomenon that triggered the present use of the term, some philosophers have tried to characterize it more precisely. A common theme in this nascent philosophica…Read more
  •  122
    The Meaning of Generics
    Philosophy Compass 12 (8). 2017.
    This article discusses recent theories of the meaning of generics. The discussion is centred on how the theories differ in their approach to addressing the primary difficulty in providing a theory of generic meaning: The notoriously complex ways in which the truth conditions of generics seem to vary. In addition, the article summarizes considerations for and against each theory.
  •  135
    Leslie on Generics
    Philosophical Studies 172 (9): 2493-2512. 2015.
    This paper offers three objections to Leslie’s recent and already influential theory of generics :375–403, 2007a, Philos Rev 117:1–47, 2008): her proposed metaphysical truth-conditions are subject to systematic counter-examples, the proposed disquotational semantics fails, and there is evidence that generics do not express cognitively primitive generalisations
  •  128
    Generics, Content and Cognitive Bias
    Analytic Philosophy 56 (1): 75-93. 2015.
  •  67
    Generics, Covert Structure and Logical Form
    Mind and Language 31 (5): 503-529. 2016.
    The standard view amongst philosophers of language and linguists is that the logical form of generics is quantificational and contains a covert, unpronounced quantifier expression Gen. Recently, some theorists have begun to question the standard view and rekindle the competing proposal, that generics are a species of kind-predication. These theorists offer some forceful objections to the standard view, and new strategies for dealing with the abundance of linguistic evidence in favour of the stan…Read more
  •  773
    Generics in Context
    Philosophers' Imprint 15. 2015.