Selected Publications, Presentations and Work in Progress

“Hepeating” and Discursive Alienation (work in progress) [Short Version PDF]

In this paper, I discuss a discursive phenomenon involving hepeating and attempt to locate the harm and wrongness of it. Hepeating happens in the following manner in workplaces and academic settings: a woman speaker proposes an idea, but there is no uptake of it; later her male colleague puts forward the very same idea, and everyone loves it. I argue that hepeating as a discursive phenomenon involves a kind of harm and wrongness that do not reduce into moral transgression or distributive injustice. I claim that there is a distinctive discursive harm to the woman speaker where hepeating happens, but the existing notion of illocutionary silencing does not adequately explain it. I develop the notion of discursive alienation as discursive harm and discuss how it problematizes social conditions and discursive contexts that alienate speakers.

Chisholm’s Paradox Revisited : Puzzles Regarding Contrary-To-Duty Obligations and A Dynamic Solution [Prepublication PDF], forthcoming in Ergo

A contrary-to-duty obligation (CTD obligation) is a type of conditional obligation that tells us what to do when a primary duty is violated. Chisholm’s Paradox is one of the most famous deontic puzzles about CTD obligations. It is widely believed that Chisholm’s Paradox does not arise for ordering semantics, today’s orthodox semantics for modals and conditionals. In this paper, I propose a new puzzle, the CTD Trilemma, to show that ordering semantics still has difficulties in adequately representing natural reasoning with CTD obligations. I argue that to solve the CTD Trilemma a formal account must attend to two different functions played by ought-statements in our normative reasoning and discourse: ought-statements as normative rules and normative judgments. To formally capture this distinction I develop a new dynamic account of ought-statements and normative reasoning inspired by Frank Veltman’s update semantics for default reasoning. Finally, I show how my update semantics for normative reasoning provides a simple and elegant solution to the CTD Trilemma and explains seemingly inconsistent data about inferences using ought- statements in normative reasoning.

Moral Twin Earth and Genuine Disagreement [Paper/ Poster PDF] , presented in Eastern APA 2019

Horgan and Timmons (1991, 1992a, 1992b, and 2009)’ Moral Twin Earth argument is designed to disprove the descriptivist account of the meaning of moral terms. It deploys the following simple observation about genuine disagreements: to have a genuine disagreement between two parties, they have to mean the same thing by the words used in their dispute; otherwise they are just talking past each other. In this paper, I analyze the structure of the argument, identify its most problematic premise, and discuss how the proponents of descriptivism can and should respond to the argument, in particular regarding the elicited intuitions from the Moral Twin Earth thought experiment.

Deontic Puzzles and Semantics for Ought-Statements [Paper/ Poster PDF], presented in Easter APA 2018

Ordering semantics is the orthodox semantics for moda ls and conditionals today, most famously developed by Angelica Kratzer and David Lewis. I critically discuss the ordering semantic account of deontic ought-statements which we use to express duties and obligations. I put forward three puzzles to show the limitations of the ordering semantic account of oughts. (i) Ordering semantics cannot adequately capture the notion of moral dilemma because two conflicting obligations leads to deontic explosion. (ii) The possibility of supererogation is denied given the ordering semantic account of oughts. (iii) Our natural reasoning pattern with a contrary-to-duty obligation when one’s primary obligation is violated is not faithfully represented in ordering semantics. I claim that the ordering semantic framework is inadequate for normative language because it fails to recognize the two functions served by ought-statements in normative discourse and reasoning: axiological and deontological meanings of oughts. The ordering semantic account of oughts cannot represent the deontological use of oughts, and I call this the Axiological Reduction.