I am primarily interested in the philosophy of language, the philosophy
of mathematics, and ethics.
My dissertation engages some with all three of these, but is focused on
theories of truth. In particular, it deals with the debate between those
who advocate a robust, correspondence account -- truth is correspondence
to reality -- and those who urge a weak, deflationary one -- "truth" isn't
a property at all, but merely a logical device. I trace the development
of these two extremes, revealing the underlying points of contention, and
arguing for a robust theory. A central move in my argument is the articulation
of a new correspondence theory, one that overcomes traditional objections.
It does so by taking scientific uses as paradigmatic, and giving indirect,
context-sensitive accounts of language-world relationships, thus turning
away from the heavy metaphysics of familiar correspondence theories. I call
this the "physical correspondence theory" of truth. I then argue that recent
deflationist responses to objections can be read in two ways, giving two
brands of deflationism. The first reading yields a "physical deflationism,"
which is just the physical correspondence theory with some different labeling;
on the basis of these small differences, I plump for the latter. The second
reading yields a "discourse deflationism." I show that on this reading,
the deflationary responses are not quite sufficient. Thus, I distinguish
two types of deflationism and conclude that the physical correspondence theory
is preferable to both.
This project grew out of an interest in mathematical truth, though this
is not treated specifically in the dissertation. I hope to explore next
what the implications are for mathematics of adopting the physical correspondence
Finally, my work in ethics began with a paper on moral dilemmas (see below);
I am now interested in finding out what metaethical viewpoint is suggested
by those views.
B.A. Mathematics Wesleyan University
M.S. Mathematics Tulane University
M.A. Mathematics SUNY at Buffalo
Moral Dilemmas, Collective Responsibility, and Moral Progress,
Philosophical Studies, forthcoming.