Research

Research Agenda

Philosophically, my main focus is communication. I am interested in how speakers convey a range of things, in the status of those things as meanings—whether said, implied, suggested, etc.—and in how it is that hearers can come to understand what is said, implied, or suggested.

Historically, my main focus is Sanskritic Indian philosophy. My work centers on Mīmāṃsā philosophers, who are part of a brahminical tradition also known as the science of sentences (vākya-śāstra), although to some extent I also work on thinkers in the science of poetics/aesthetics (alaṃkāra-śāstra).

My aim is to do philosophy with Sanskrit interlocutors, and to approach contemporary philosophy with a sense of broad historical context, drawing on philosophical insight wherever it may be found.

Current Projects

Metaphor and Analogy in Mīmāṃsā

  • Exploration of the work of the important early thinker Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, focusing on his analysis of similarity as it is implicated in language and epistemology. The book aims to do history of philosophy, understanding this crucial aspect of Kumārila's project, as well as to to engage constructively with contemporary work in metaphor and analogy.
  • Book manuscript in progress, supported by NEH Summer Stipend (2019). Abstract. Draft chapters available by request.
  • Related papers:
    • "Metonymy and Metaphor as Verbal Postulation: The Epistemic Status of Non-Literal Speech in Indian Philosophy," Journal of World Philosophies, 2:1 (Summer 2017).
    • "Metaphor or Delusion? A Mīmāṃsaka's Response to Conceptual Metaphor Theory." Philosophy East and West. (2019): doi: 10.1353/pew.0.0172

Past Projects

  • Philosophical essays, translations of important primary texts, and substantial introductory essay focused on epistemology and logic in Nyāya and Mīmāṃsā. Focus is the means of knowledge known as arthâpatti (known as postulation, presumption, etc.).
  • Under contract with Bloomsbury Academic Publishing. Forthcoming July 2020.

  • A monograph which takes the Fundamentals of the Communicative Function (Abhidhāvṛttamātṛkā) as an entry-point into Indian linguistic analysis in grammar, philosophy, and poetics.
  • Bloomsbury Academic Publishing, May 2019.

Interviews and Reviews

  • NDPR review (Feb 21, 2020) of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy written by Brendan S. Gillon, McGill University
  • New Books Network podcast interview (Sept 20, 2019) about Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (note that there are some technical difficulties making audio very quiet at certain points).
  • Swarajya magazine review (June 30, 2019) of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (with a Hindi spelling of "Bhaṭṭa" as "Bhaṭṭ"). Swarajya is an Indian magazine which characterizes itself as a "'big tent' of right liberal ideas."
  • 316am Magazine interview (originally June 2018 at the 3AM website) about my research on the literal/non-literal distinction in Indian philosophy
  • Quoted in Straits Times article (April 2017) about Sanskrit in Singapore