I am interested in (meta)metaphysics and (meta)ontology, especially in topics such as: Are there composite objects (e. g. tables and chairs), or merely simple particles? Is answering such ontological questions hard or easy? Do they even have objective, determinate answers?
Furthermore, I like the philosophy of language (indexicals and demonstratives) and Kant’s theoretical philosophy – especially the Second Antinomy of the first Critique, which deals with the divisibility of matter.
- forthcoming: Metasemantics, Intentions and Circularity. Synthese (with Lukas Lewerentz).According to intentionalism, a demonstrative d refers to an object o only if the speaker intends d to refer to o. Intentionalism is a popular view in metasemantics, but Gauker has recently argued that it is circular. We defend intentionalism against this objection, by showing that Gauker’s argument rests on a misconstrual of the aim of metasemantics. We then introduce two related, but distinct circularity objections: the worry that intentionalism is uninformative, and the problem of intentional bootstrapping, according to which it is impossible to have referential intentions. We also show how intentionalists could respond to these new objections.Link via Publisher
- 2017: Quantification and Metaontological Deflationism. European Congress for Analytic Philosophy 9, München.
Ontological questions are often expressed using quantificational vocabulary. The standard model-theoretic semantics invokes a domain to explain the truth of quantified statements. Metaphysicians tend to picture the world as consisting of mind-independent, ’ready-made’ objects, and thus assume that there is one absolute domain which is determined solely by the way reality is – independently of what language or concepts we employ.
First, I will argue that this view, domain realism, fits with a realistic metaontology, but is incompatible with metaontological deflationism, according to which ontological questions are easily answered. Secondly, I will explore what positive story deflationists should tell about domains.
- 2016: Referential Intentions and the Metasemantics of Demonstratives. 1st Context, Cognition and Communication Conference, Warsaw (with Lukas Lewerentz).
Show Abstract (External Link)
- 2016: Frege versus Kaplan on Indexicals. 4th Seoul Philosophy Graduate Conference; 6th Humboldt/King’s Joint Graduate Workshop in Philosophy, Berlin.What is the correct semantics of indexicals like ‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’? According to Kaplan’s influential treatment of these expressions, they refer only relative to a context of utterance. The Kaplanian theory is now the standard view. But there is an alternative: Frege’s position on indexicals is taken to be that indexical expressions alone don’t refer at all. It is so-called hybrid proper names which do the referring, and they are objects composed of both an expression and some non-linguistic constituent. Is this just a notational variant of Kaplan, or are there reasons to prefer the unorthodox Fregean view?
Two recent papers by Textor (2007, 2015) argue that the Fregean theory is superior to the Kaplanian theory. I will critically examine Textor’s argument, and show that one crucial step he makes is not sufficiently motivated. His argument relies on an important assumption about what can be part of the context of an utterance as opposed to being part of the utterance itself, which I dub (C-U). I show that Textor’s case for (C-U) is weak, and that a Kaplanian has no reason to accept it. Nevertheless, the defense of Kaplan involves major modifications of the classical Kaplanian theory, and so Textor’s argument does provide important insights about indexicals.
- 2015: Keep it simple! Intentions in the Metasemantics of Demonstratives. Salzburg Conference for Young Analytic Philosophy 2015 (with Lukas Lewerentz)
Show Abstract (in German, External Link)