I am the Principal Investigator in the Relevance Project, working especially on the topics of logical and epistemic relevance as well as a general theory of relevance. Before starting the Emmy Noether project, I spent one year as a lecturer at the University of Glasgow (2017-8). Prior to that, I was a postdoc in Hamburg, first in B. Schnieder and F. Moltmann’s DFG/ANR project Nominalizations (2011-4) and then with DFG-funding for an “Eigene Stelle” project on The Logic and Metaphysics of Ground (2014-7). I obtained my PhD with a thesis on second-order quantification and ontological commitment at the University of Leeds (2011), for which I was awarded the Wolfgang-Stegmüller-Prize in 2012.
My main research interests are in philosophical logic, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and formal epistemology. I also have an interest in the history of analytic philosophy, especially the works of Bernard Bolzano and Gottlob Frege. More narrowly, I take a special interest in the following three fields.
- Higher-order quantification and ontological commitment. This was the topic of my PhD thesis. I favour a view of higher-order quantification as a sui generis kind of quantification irreducible to ordinary first-order quantification, which therefore does not incur ontological commitments. Still, I see no good reason to therefore consider higher-order quantification as somehow lightweight in any interesting sense.
- The logic and metaphysics of grounding My main interest here is in developing a conception of content that can play the role in the theory of grounding which the possible world conception plays in the theory of metaphysical modality. I see truthmaker semantics as recently developed by Kit Fine as a very promising starting point for that project.
- Relevance. I see it as a significant unifying feature of many important philosophical relations like grounding, explanation, confirmation, commitment, and various others that they impose constraints of relevance between the things they relate. I am interested in better understanding the general nature of relevance, its different forms and the dimensions along which they differ. And I suspect that some form of truthmaker semantics offers the best formal framework for the study of these matters.
- (2018) Towards a theory of ground-theoretic content. Synthese, 195(2), pp. 785-814. (doi:10.1007/s11229-016-1242-6)
- (2017) A hyperintensional criterion of irrelevance. Synthese, 194(8), pp. 2917-2930. (doi:10.1007/s11229-016-1078-0)
- (2017) Difference-Making Grounds. Philosophical Studies 174(5): 1191–1215 (w/ Stefan Roski)
- (2017) Everything, and then some. Mind, 126(502), pp. 499-528. (doi:10.1093/mind/fzv187)
- (2015) A Note on the Logic of Worldly Ground, Thought 4(1), pp. 59-68. (w/ Stefan Roski)
- (2014) On What There is for Things to Be. (Studies in theoretical philosophy, 1). Klostermann: Frankfurt am Main.
- (2014) Implicit commitment in theory choice. Synthese, 191(10), pp. 2147-2165. (doi:10.1007/s11229-013-0388-8)
- (2014) Semantic values in higher-order semantics. Philosophical Studies, 168(3), pp. 709-724. (doi:10.1007/s11098-013-0157-z)
- (2013) A simpler puzzle of ground. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, 2(2), pp. 85-89. (doi:10.1002/tht3.77)
- (2011) Bolzano on the intransparency of content. In: Schnieder, B. and Schulz, M. (eds.) Themes from Early Analytic Philosophy: Essays in Honour of Wolfgang Künne. (Grazer Philosophische Studien 82). Rodopi: Amsterdam, pp. 189-208.
- (2010) How not to defend ontological cheats. Analysis, 70(2), pp. 290-296. (doi:10.1093/analys/anp162)