Nate Bulthuis
Email: neb67 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am a sixth-year graduate student in philosophy studying at Cornell University.  My dissertation research focuses on the semantics of Walter Burley (c. 1275-c. 1344), a philosopher who, on account of the philosophical tides of his time, seems to have been as under-appreciated then as much as he has been now.  In particular, I focus on his theory of the proposition, which I contend is a mind-dependent, truth-conditional object produced by the mind's use of things outside the mind as subjects and as predicates. In many ways, it is similar to theories of the proposition just recently proposed by Scott Soames and Peter Hanks.  

I find Burley's theory of the proposition exciting not least because it provides ample opportunity to engage questions about the metaphysics of content and contentful states, questions which have independent interest for me.  Burley's theory of the proposition clearly provides opportunity for the former sort of questions.  But Burley also attempts to naturalize propositional content and propositional attitudes by endorsing a language of thought whose syntactic functions ground the mind's use of objects as subjects and predicates.  And so that theory naturally calls to mind questions about the nature not just of content but of contentful states as well.  I am especially interested in whether and how natural facts can ground or determine contentful states (if there be such things), and, if so, how those natural facts ought to be articulated (e.g. dispositionally).