alex anthony

professional philosopher

swipe left or press ➡

ongoing research interests, ideologies & tools

evaluative language, experiential language, genericity

aspect & aktionsarten, non-finite clauses

dispositions, norms, abilities, & other modal notions

bloomfield's abyss, i-semantics

philosophy of denotational semantics

digital fragments, functional programming, haskell

event & situation semantics, signaling games



The language of experience and evaluation

dissertation rutgers 2017

committee: andy, ernie, jeff, liz & thony

My dissertation is about a class of expressions I call fun adjectives (fun, boring, interesting). Though evaluative language has been a hot topic recently at the intersection of philosophy and linguistics, these paradigmatically evaluative expressions have an important and neglected experiential interpretation. I present a wide range of novel data about this experiential dimension and contend that to understand the semantics of fun adjectives (and beyond!) we need to forget everything we thought we knew about evaluative language.

Dispositional predicates in context

thesis wesleyan 2010

I discuss and evaluate a variety of analyses of the language of dispositions, with an emphasis on conditional analyses, Michael Fara's [2005] habitual account, and David Manley & Ryan Wasserman's [2007], [2008] modal proportional approach. I find all the existing analyses grossly inadequate (for various reasons). In subsequent work (Dispositions & modality) I soften up and argue that Manley & Wasserman are basically on the right track.


Experience, evaluation & faultless disagreement

2016, Inquiry


I argue that the aspectual dimension of fun adjectives (A 'fun' ambiguity) actually plays a cool role in these famous cases of FAULTLESS DISAGREEMENT.

Plus more reasons not to like the contextualisms and relativisms on offer, and why you gotta get *faultlessness* outta semantics.

A fun ambiguity

2013 ms


Here I introduce a lot of data on an underappreciated aspectual dimension of fun adjectives, and in particular on experiential readings thereof (like e.g. pretty much any occurence of That was fun!).

I argue that fun adjectives have experiential lexical meanings (fun means enjoy not disposed to enjoy) and that non-experiential readings must be derived verbal generics.

Which would mean accounts that treat the non-experiential (dispositional) meaning as the basic one in the lexicon (and that's nearly all of 'em!) are barking up the wrong tree.

Dispositions & modals

2011 ms

(i) What do we want from a linguistic theory of disposition talk?

(ii) What basic modeling resources do we need for such a theory?

(i) We want a linguistic theory of disposition talk to satisfy what I dub the Fara constraint: it must provide an account of how disposed differs in meaning from other non-finite licensing adjectives (known, allowed, required...) in phrases like disposed to smoke.

(ii) Modality, naturally. But in particular, non-maximal and structured modal points, like in situation semantics.


Introduction to Logic [2012]

Introduction to Logic (Online Hybrid) [2013]

Philosophy of Mind: Intutions [2015]

Philosophy of Literature [2016]