I’m a fourth-year PhD student studying linguistics at Stony Brook University, specializing in semantics and its interfaces with pragmatics and syntax. I am currently working on my dissertation, advised by Richard Larson and summarized below:
Dissertation summary for non-linguists: The philosopher Donald Davidson argued that verbs like run and hate serve, on some level, to describe events or states, characterizing them as events of running, states of hating, etc. Treating the meanings of verbs as “hovering around” an event/state in this manner has turned out to be highly productive, leading to a number of surprisingly general insights about how meaning works in language. Meanwhile, there is another class of verbs—what linguists and philosophers call attitudes, such as want, wish, regret, believe, etc.—that have had their own, separate tradition of semantic analyses, leading to their own, separate insights. Recent work, especially by Valentine Hacquard (University of Maryland) and Angelika Kratzer (UMass Amherst), has sought to bring these two programs of research together. My work represents a continuation of this line of research, modifying the semantics of attitudes like want in order to make them behave in certain crucial respects more like simpler verbs like run and hate.
Dissertation summary for linguists: My dissertation is on the relationship between neo-Davidsonian event semantics and the semantics of attitudes. The overarching goal is to provide a semantics of attitudes and a natural language metaphysics of attitude states that makes attitudes unexceptional on a compositional level (including thematic uniqueness and certain constraints on verbal measurement constructions), while still incorporating the quantification over worlds stemming from traditional Hintikkan analyses.
Outside of linguistics, my main hobby is music. I studied music composition and jazz piano performance at Williams College, and was a professional (or at least “professional”) jazz pianist before seeing the light and becoming a linguist. (You can check out my music on the appropriately labeled page on this site.) I’m also a diehard fan of Baltimore sports, and have not been known to turn down a cup of coffee.