• Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent the same phenomena: our belief-like and desire- and preference-like states. They also purport to do the same work with these representations: explain and predict our actions. But they do so with different sets of concepts. There's much at stake in whether one of these two sets of concepts can be accounted for with the other. Without such an account, we'd have two competing representations and systems of prediction and explanation, a d…Read more
  • To Be F Is To Be G
    Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1): 39-134. 2016.
    This paper is an investigation of the general logic of "identifications", claims such as 'To be a vixen is to be a female fox', 'To be human is to be a rational animal', and 'To be just is to help one's friends and harm one's enemies', many of which are of great importance to philosophers. I advocate understanding such claims as expressing higher-order identity, and discuss a variety of different general laws which they might be thought to obey. [New version: Nov. 4th, 2016]
  • I consider a puzzling case presented by Jose Benardete, and by appeal to this case develop a paradox involving counterfactual conditionals. I then show that this paradox may be leveraged to argue for certain non-obvious claims concerning the logic of counterfactuals.
  • A paradox for supertask decision makers
    Philosophical Studies 153 (2): 307. 2011.
    I consider two puzzles in which an agent undergoes a sequence of decision problems. In both cases it is possible to respond rationally to any given problem yet it is impossible to respond rationally to every problem in the sequence, even though the choices are independent. In particular, although it might be a requirement of rationality that one must respond in a certain way at each point in the sequence, it seems it cannot be a requirement to respond as such at every point for that would be to …Read more
  • The Standard View is that, other things equal, speakers’ judgments about the meanings of sentences of their language are correct. After all, we make the meanings, so how wrong can we be about them? The Standard View underlies the Elicitation Method, a typical method in semantic fieldwork, according to which we should work out the truth-conditions of a sentence by eliciting speakers’ judgments about its truth-value in different situations. I put pressure on the Standard View and therefore on the …Read more
  • What the Future ‘Might’ Brings
    Mind 129 (515): 809-829. 2020.
    This paper concerns a puzzle about the interaction of epistemic modals and future tense. In cases of predictable forgetfulness, speakers cannot describe their future states of mind with epistemic modals under future tense, but promising theories of epistemic modals do not predict this. In §1, I outline the puzzle. In §2, I argue that it undermines a very general approach to epistemic modals that draws a tight connection between epistemic modality and evidence. In §3, I defend the assumption that…Read more
  • Semantic Variance
    Dissertation, New York University. 2018.
    This dissertation argues for Semantic Variance, the thesis that nearly every utterance is such that there is no proposition that more than one languge user takes to be that utterance's truth-conditional content. I argue that Semantic Variance is problematic for standard theories concerning the nature of communication, the epistemic significance of ordinary disputes, the semantics of speech reports, and the nature of linguistic competence. In response to the problems arising from the truth of Sem…Read more
  • A Theory of Perceptual Objects
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3): 663-693. 2019.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  • This paper argues that truth predicates in natural language and their variants, predicates of correctness, satisfaction and validity, do not apply to propositions (not even with 'that'-clauses), but rather to a range of attitudinal and modal objects. As such natural language reflects a notion of truth that is primarily a normative notion of correctness constitutive of representational objects. The paper moreover argues that 'true' is part of a larger class of satisfaction predicates whose semant…Read more