Research

DSC_0903
Photo credit: Filippo Ferrari

Research Programme

Broadly speaking, I work primarily on topics in metaphysics and the philosophy of language.  In particular, all of my current research deals in some way with truth. Truth seems to be one of those topics that sticks with you, so I expect to continue working on truth in some capacity for most of my career.

I’m very interested in deflationary truth theories. I think that deflationists should pay more attention to metaphysical questions about truth, and I have some thoughts about how they should answer them. I find that my sympathies align most strongly with what I call pure deflationism, according to which there is no such property as truth. I’m currently working out my thoughts on pure deflationism and on how debates about deflationism can be informed by topics such as Russell’s Paradox and the relevance of parsimony to theory choice.

I’ve recently developed a semantics for English taste predicates that is absolutist at both the level of semantic content and the level of truth-value.  In doing so, I attempt to show how an absolutist should conceive of faultless disagreement about matters of taste and also explore our ordinary attitudes about such matters, drawing on some recent empirical data.

I’ve devoted a lot of attention to problems that arise in connection with alethic pluralism. My work on this topic, including my dissertation, deals with the nature of domains; mixed discourse; the relations between alethic pluralism, deflationism, and eliminativism about truth; the proper formulation of correspondence pluralism; the nature of platitudes about truth; the scope problem; and the viability of moderate alethic pluralism.  I’m still interested in all of these topics.

My other research interests include primitivist truth theories; empirical and experimental philosophy; properties; and pragmatism, both classical and contemporary.

Publications

Edited volumes and special issues

The Nature of Truth: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, 2nd edition, co-edited with Michael P. Lynch, Nathan Kellen, and Junyeol Kim.  Forthcoming with MIT Press in 2019.

Pluralisms in Truth and Logic, co-edited with Nikolaj Pedersen and Nathan Kellen.  Forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.

Truth: Concept Meets Property, special issue of Synthese on the concept and nature of truth. Forthcoming in 2018.

Articles and book chapters

Truth and insubstantiality: the metaphysics of deflationism. To appear in The Nature of Truth: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, 2nd edition.

Truth in English and elsewhere: an empirically-informed functionalism. To appear in Pluralisms in Truth and Logic.

Absolutely tasty: an examination of predicates of personal taste and faultless disagreement. Inquiry 61: 3, 252-80. 2018. [Penultimate version]

Abstract: Debates about the semantics and pragmatics of predicates of personal taste (PPT) have largely centered on contextualist and relativist proposals. I argue in favor of an alternative, absolutist analysis of PPT. Theorists such as Max Kölbel and Peter Lasersohn have argued that we should dismiss absolutism (also called realism or invariantism) due to its inability to accommodate the possibility of faultless disagreement involving PPT. My aim in the paper is to show how the absolutist can in fact accommodate this possibility by drawing on an account of faultless disagreement that improves upon a recent proposal due to Karl Schafer. In amending Schafer’s proposal, I put forward an empirically-informed view of our beliefs regarding matters of personal taste, as well as an account of our assertions concerning such matters. I also argue that absolutists should take disagreement about these matters to be conative, rather than doxastic, in nature. The anticipated result is an independently compelling account of faultless disagreement about matters of personal taste that fits naturally with absolutism.

The many (yet few) faces of deflationism. The Philosophical Quarterly 66: 263, 362-82. 2016.

Abstract: It’s often said that according to deflationary theories of truth, truth is not a ‘substantial’ property. While this is a fine slogan, it is far from transparent what deflationists mean (or ought to mean) in saying that truth is ‘insubstantial.’ Focusing so intently upon the concept of truth and the word ‘true,’ I argue, deflationists and their critics have been insufficiently attentive to a host of metaphysical complexities that arise for deflationists in connection with the property of truth. My aim is to correct several misunderstandings as to what deflationists are after here—including some harbored by deflationists themselves—and to offer an account of the commitments about truth’s nature that they ought to undertake. In developing this account, I focus particularly upon the issue of what metaphysics of truth a Horwichian minimalist ought to adopt.

From one to many: recent work on truth. (with Michael P. Lynch). American Philosophical Quarterly 53: 4, 323-40. 2016.

Abstract: We offer a brief, critical survey of contemporary work on truth. We begin by reflecting on the distinction between substantivist and deflationary truth theories. We then turn to three new kinds of truth theory—Kevin Scharp’s replacement theory, John MacFarlane’s relativism, and the alethic pluralism pioneered by Michael Lynch and Crispin Wright. We argue that despite their considerable differences, these theories exhibit a common ‘pluralizing tendency’ with respect to truth. In the final section, we look at the underinvestigated interface between metaphysical and formal truth theories, pointing to several promising questions that arise here.

Domains, plural truth, and mixed atomic propositions. Philosophical Studies 166: 255-36, 2013.

Abstract: I discuss two concerns for pluralist truth theories: a concern about a key detail of these theories and a concern about their viability. The detailed-related concern is that pluralists have relied heavily upon the notion of a domain, but it is not transparent what they take domains to be. Since the notion of a domain has been present in philosophy for some time, it is important for many theorists, not only truth pluralists, to be clear on what domains are and what work they can do.

The viability-related concern is that it’s not clear how a pluralist truth theory could explain the truth-conditions of mixed atomic propositions. To address this concern, truth pluralists should recognize something to which they have not been sufficiently attentive: that some atomic propositions belong to more than one domain. But, recognizing this requires rethinking the relationships between the nature of propositions, their membership in domains, and their truth. I address these issues and propose an understanding of them that is preferable to the best existing account of them, that offered by Michael Lynch.

Dissertation

Pluralism and the absence of truth. Ph.D. Dissertation, 2014. Available at UCONN Digital Commons

My Academia.edu Page

Papers in Progress

Negotiating the desert landscape: deflationism, truth-talk, and parsimony

A critical discussion of two leading arguments for pure deflationism in which I offer what I take to be a stronger argument in favor of this view.

What is disagreement about matters of personal taste?

A paper in which I argue that disagreement about matters of personal taste should be understood as non-doxastic in nature and explore some significant consequences of this result for debates about the meaning of taste predicates.

Talks: Past and Upcoming

What is disagreement about matters of personal taste?
4th Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia, National Chengchi University; August 2018

Truth in English and elsewhere: an empirically-informed functionalism
2nd Veritas Philosophy Conference, Yonsei University; April 2018

Belief and disagreement about matters of personal taste
Relativisms Workshop III, Seoul National University; March 2018

Truth in English and elsewhere: an empirically-informed functionalism
Departmental Colloquium, Texas Christian University; January 2018

Absolutely tasty: an examination of predicates of personal taste and faultless disagreement
UIC Faculty Colloquium, Yonsei University; November 2017

Truth predicates, absolutely: an examination of PPT and faultless disagreement
Relativisms Workshop I, Yonsei University; February 2017

Negotiating the desert landscape: deflationism, truth-talk, and parsimony
Workshop on Paul Horwich, Sungkyunkwan University; February 2017

A case for pure deflationism
3rd Bologna Pluralism Workshop, Cogito Research Centre, Università di Bologna; December 2016

Deflationism and truth as a property
Truth: Deflationism and Beyond, University of Sassari; September 2016

Logical pluralism’s conceptions of truth
3rd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia, Seoul National University; August 2016

Plato’s alethic pluralism
Symposium on Blake Hestir’s ‘Plato on the Metaphysical Foundations of Meaning and Truth,’ Yonsei University; June 2016

The concepts and natures of truth
Pluralisms Week, Yonsei University; June 2016

Reconceiving faultless disagreement: a defense of absolutism about ‘tasty’
Pacific APA, San Francisco; March 2016

The concepts and natures of truth
Departmental Colloquium, Hong Kong University; February 2016

Reconceiving faultless disagreement: a defense of absolutism about ‘tasty’
Departmental Colloquium, Lingnan University; February 2016

Reconceiving faultless disagreement: a defense of absolutism about ‘tasty’
Departmental Colloquium, Texas Christian University; January 2016

The concepts and natures of truth
Pluralisms Workshop II, Cogito Research Centre, Università di Bologna; October 2015

Reconceiving faultless disagreement: a defense of absolutism about ‘tasty’
Cogito Research Seminar, Università di Bologna; October 2015

Reconceiving faultless disagreement: a defense of absolutism about ‘tasty’
Pluralism, Language, and Logic Workshop, Yonsei University; September 2015

The puzzle of truth-aptness and the meaning of ‘true’
LOGOS Research Group, Universitat de Barcelona; July 2015

Absolutely tasty: an alternative to taste predicate relativism
Cogito Research Seminar, Università di Bologna; June 2015

The puzzle of truth-aptness and the meaning of ‘true’
Pluralisms Workshop I, Cogito Research Centre, Università di Bologna; June 2015

Commentary: Hongwoo Kwon, Indexicality in action
Korean Society for Analytic Philosophy Spring Meeting, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies; May 2015

Absolutely tasty: a case for taste predicate absolutism
UIC Philosophy Research Seminar, Yonsei University; April 2015

Considerations on Beall-Restall logical pluralism (with Ben Burgis, Colin Caret, and Nikolaj Pedersen)
Pluralisms Global Research Network Workshop V, Yonsei University; March 2015

The puzzle of truth-aptness and the meaning of ‘true’
2nd Conference on Contemporary Philosophy in East Asia, Kyoto University; August 2014

Platitudes and method in truth theory
Language & Epistemology Workshop, Yonsei University; July 2014

Commentary: Colin Caret, Mission impossible: a dialetheic solution to Curry’s Paradox
Korean Society for Logic Summer Meeting, Dongduk Women’s University; July 2014

What truth cannot be
1st Veritas Philosophy Conference, Yonsei University; June 2014

Commentary: Nikolaj Pedersen, Mixed compounds: a strongly pluralist account
Pacific APA; April 2014

The paradox of truth-aptness and the meaning of ‘true’
Pacific APA; April 2014

Alethic pluralism and the bearers of truth (with Cory D. Wright)
Pluralisms Global Research Network Workshop I; Yonsei University; January 2014

Platitudes, truth-bearers, and the stability of moderate alethic pluralism
Graduate Research Workshop, Yonsei University; July 2013

Strong pluralism, moderate pluralism, and pluralistic nihilism
Northern Institute of Philosophy; June 2013

Commentary: Mark Makin, Ontological dependence grounds grounding
Yale/UConn Graduate Philosophy Conference; May 2013

Deflationism deflated
Pacific APA; March 2013

Deflationism deflated
XVII Shapiro Graduate Philosophy Conference; Brown University; November 2012

Grounded, deflationary pluralism
Northern Institute of Philosophy; May 2012

Domains, plural truth, and mixed atomic propositions
1st Seoul Graduate Philosophy Conference, Yonsei University; April 2012

Advertisements