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Research Statement
My current research is on the logic of indexicals and demonstratives. I developed a logic which allows arguments to take place accross time, and accross speaker. I would like to expand this in a few directions. One goal is to extend the semantical framework and the logic to incorporate tenses. So far, Kamp's Discourse Representation Theory seems to me the most straightforward place for this extension, not least because it allows contexts to change in a conversation. Another goal is to figure out if this new framework can be extended even further, to other allegedly context-dependent words, most prominently adjectives and propositional attitude verbs.

Dissertation:
The Logic of Indexicals (.pdf     
Pure indexicals, words like “I” and “today”, are among the few kinds of words that most philosophers of language agree about. In particular, it has always been assumed that any logic of indexicals will require that every argument take place in just one context, with just one speaker, in one moment, and in one place. This is undesirable, because we do cooperate when we argue, and we move about. In my dissertation, I present a logic which allows contexts to change within an argument. I then argue that it correctly predicts that there are a posteriori logical truths. Also, I propose a new way to distinguish between pure indexicals and true demonstratives, like "this" and "that". The new distinction shines a new light on the vexing problem of developing a logic of true demonstratives.
    
Work in Progress

"The Difference between Indexicals and Demonstratives. A Case Study"
This paper discusses Kaplan’s claim that one can split indexicals into two: pure indexicals and true demonstratives. Briefly, pure indexicals are words like “today” and “I”, which get their semantic value directly from the context, irrespective of the speaker’s referential intentions. True demonstratives are words like “this” and “that”, which can only get a referent by working off the speaker’s intentions, or some other agent-related feature of the situation. I have a number of goals in this paper. First, I argue that the singular second person pronoun “you” is in some ways like typical pure indexicals, and in some other ways more like typical true demonstratives. Second, I argue that there are good reasons to count “you” as a pure indexical. This will lead me to propose a new criterion for the distinction, which looks at the kind of intention needed to establish a referent. The basic idea is that demonstratives require a token-related intention, whereas, e.g., "you" requires only the intention to address someone, which is not related to any token of "you", or any other expression.
"On Two Kinds of Coordination"
This paper concerns Kit Fine's semantic relationism. His theory has many applications, but I will focus on his claims about proper names, since they are are the most philosophically interesting. His central claim is that there is a single semantically important relation which, when it holds between several uses of a proper name, makes it the case that those uses are semantically required to be coreferential. By contrast, I argue that there are at least two relations at work: one that holds inter-personally, and one that holds intra-personally. The first sign that Fine is mistaken is his own claim that the relation is not transitive, as seen from looking at Kripke's Paderewski puzzle. Peter, who doesn't realize that there is one person called "Paderewski" who is both a pianist and a politician, may use the name in such a way that he doesn't take it that the two uses are semantically required to corefer. Yet all those uses may well be connected to uses made by Saul, who does know the truth about Paderewski's unusual abilities. So Peter's uses are both related to the uses made by Saul, which are related to each other, and yet Peter's uses are not related to each other. However, we are looking at semantically mandated coreference; and it is just implausible that such a relation could be intransitive. If there are in fact two relations, this anomaly can be explained away. But there is an even more direct argument to support the idea that there must be two relations at work here: in cases of confusion, which are the opposite of Kripke's case, we want to say that the speaker takes it that two uses of a name corefer, but he is wrong about it. From an objective, or inter-personal, point of view, those uses are not semantically required to corefer; the speaker is just wrong about language. But if we want to describe the speaker's beliefs, we will want to say that he takes it that those uses are semantically related; or, as one might put it, they are intra-personally related. Fine's theory lacks the resources to account for confusion cases, since he can only say that those uses are either related, or that they are not. And yet, intuitively, what we want to say is that they are related by one relation, and not related by another. The project, then, is to provide an account of these two relations, and investigate whether more might be needed for other relations that deal with co-reference.






















2011. Alexandru Radulescu. All rights reserved.