About MeI'm currently a Stipendiary Lecturer in Philosophy at St. Edmund Hall (Oxford). My research is funded by a Postdoctoral Award from the Philosophical Fellowship Fund at Oxford. From October this year I will be a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Haifa.
I received my DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford in August 2018 under the supervision of John Hawthorne and Timothy Williamson. In 2016 I was a visiting research student at the University of Southern California.
My principal research interests are in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. I'm also interested in epistemology, metaphysics, and early analytic philosophy.
I defend Lewis’s (1979) influential treatment of de se belief from recent criticism (Cappelen and Dever, 2013; Holton, 2015) to the effect that a key explanatory notion—self-ascription—goes unexplained. It is shown that Lewis's characterisation of de se belief can be reconstructed in a way which requires only widely recognised primitives.
It is widely supposed that if there is to be a plausible connection between the truth of a de re attitude report about a subject and that subject’s possession of a singular thought, then ‘acquaintance’-style requirements on singular thought must be rejected. I show that this belief rests on a poorly motivated picture of how we talk about the attitudes.
It is often suggested that aboutness or singular thought requires an epistemically rewarding link to the object one thinks about. Seeking a little more precision, we might say that one must have a means of forming beliefs which reliably gets its properties right. According to Dickie (2015), aboutness just is this capacity. This informal story is officially cashed out by her ‘reference and justification’ biconditional. After showing that Dickie’s official analysis undergenerates and overgenerates—indeed, that there is a dissonance between this and the intuitive story—I propose a ‘safety’ condition on aboutness which avoids the concerns and stays faithful to the spirit of the informal picture. The resulting view offers a new vindication of the Russellian idea that aboutness is an epistemic phenomenon.
We often think about manys—about the members of The Beatles, for example. Often we have ‘singular’ thoughts about these manys. That might sound oxymoronic. But if there is a distinctive kind of aboutness I can achieve with respect to this marble, what I achieve when I pick up a second marble and think (plurally) about these is no less special. Much attention has been devoted to singular thought about individual things. But this is just the limiting case. We should pursue an integrated account of aboutness which deals with these two kinds of achievement as even-handedly as possible. Unfortunately, obstacles emerge when we try to extend standard treatments to the case of thought about manys. After bringing these to light, I offer a natural framework which can be used to understand this phenomenon.
- General Philosophy reading list.
- Knowledge & Reality reading list.
- Philosophy of Logic and Language reading list.
- Early Modern Philosophy reading list.
- Logic resources.
- Outreach Summer School reading list.
- Possible Worlds: Lecture 1 handout: Introduction.
- Possible Worlds: Lecture 2 handout: Modal Realism I.
- Possible Worlds: Lecture 3 handout: Modal Realism II.
- Possible Worlds: Lecture 4 handout: Modal Fictionalism.
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