Matthew Mandelkern

Quondam Fellow since 2020

I work mainly on the philosophy of language, with interests in a variety of related topics in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. I focus on three phenomena. The first is the language of epistemic modality (words like ‘might’ and ‘must’). The second is practical language: how we talk and think about ability, freedom, and luck. The third is semantic presupposition, a puzzling phenomenon in which content escapes operators which otherwise cancel entailments (thus for instance ‘Susie stopped smoking’ communicates that she used to smoke; so, typically, does ‘Did Susie stop smoking?’ or ‘Susie hasn’t stopped smoking’). How does this work, and what does this tell us about the structure of language and thought?