University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2003
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Language
PhilPapers Editorships
  •  19
    "Words Gone Sour?"
    In Bill Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew Slater (eds.), Reference and Referring: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, Volume 10, Mit Press. pp. 385-405. 2012.
    In this paper, I highlight some important implications of a non-individualistic account of derogatory words. I do so by critically examining an intriguing claim of Jennifer Hornsby‘s: that derogatory words – words that, as she puts it, ―apply to people, and that are commonly understood to convey hatred and contempt‖ – are useless for us. In their stead, she maintains, we employ neutral counterparts: words ―that apply to the same people, but whose uses do not convey these things. I argue that Ho…Read more
  • The Cognitive Value of Language
    Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. 2003.
    The central question that I address in this dissertation is: how should we explain our connection with the language that we use? I show that the way that one answers the question depends upon the characterization that one gives of the nature of language. ;I argue that philosophers of language who theorize about words as in-the-world entities with a history have largely failed to explain how we use such words. To fill in this gap, I offer a positive account of the cognitive value of language. In …Read more
  •  1616
    Truth and Reference in Fiction
    In Gillian Russell & Delia Graff Fara (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Language, Routledge. forthcoming.
    Fiction is often characterized by way of a contrast with truth, as, for example, in the familiar couplet “Truth is always strange/ Stranger than fiction" (Byron 1824). And yet, those who would maintain that “we will always learn more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology” (Chomsky 1988: 159) hold that some truth is best encountered via fiction. The scrupulous novelist points out that her work depicts no actual person, either living or dead; nonethel…Read more
  •  132
    Public Proper Names, Idiolectal Identifying Descriptions
    Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3): 317-326. 2009.
    Direct reference theorists tell us that proper names have no semantic value other than their bearers, and that the connection between name and bearer is unmediated by descriptions or descriptive information. And yet, these theorists also acknowledge that we produce our name-containing utterances with descriptions on our minds. After arguing that direct reference proponents have failed to give descriptions their due, I show that appeal to speaker-associated descriptions is required if the direct …Read more
  •  420
    Can Frege pose Frege's puzzle?
    In Joseph Almog & Paolo Leonardi (eds.), The Philosophy of David Kaplan, Oxford University Press. pp. 202. 2009.
    Gottlob Frege maintained that two name-containing identity sentences, represented schematically as a=a and a=b,can both be true in virtue of the same object’s self-identity but nonetheless, puzzlingly, differ in their epistemic profiles. Frege eventually resolved his puzzlement by locating the source of the purported epistemic difference between the identity sentences in a difference in the Sinne, or senses, expressed by the names that the sentences contain.  Thus, Frege portrayed himself as des…Read more
  •  106
    The Propositions We Assert
    Acta Analytica 26 (2): 165-173. 2011.
    According to Scott Soames, proper names have no descriptive meaning. Nonetheless, Soames maintains that proper names are typically used to make descriptive assertions. In this paper, I challenge Soames’ division between meaning and what is asserted, first by arguing that competent speakers always make descriptive assertions with name-containing sentences, and then by defending an account of proper name meaning that accommodates this fact