Biography

I became interested in philosophy after reading Nietzsche, an interest that led me to the University of Warwick (1990-93), which had (at that time) a strength in Continental philosophy. Under the guidance of Michael Luntley and David Miller, however, I quickly realised that such philosophy was not for me (the Pauline moment was a Deleuze conference where no one seemed to understand what anyone – including themselves - was saying; worse, no one appeared to mind). During my undergraduate years, I developed an interest in Davidson, the concept of truth, and issues in the philosophy of content and logic. I stayed on at Warwick to do an MA (1993-94), specialising in advanced logic and the philosophy of psychology.

I did a PhD (1995-98) at Birkbeck College, London. My thesis was on two philosophical ideas stemming from Tarski’s foundational work on semantics: deflationism and Davidson’s ‘meaning via truth’ idea. I came down on Davidson’s side, although argued that Tarski’s work itself was neutral as regards the philosophical issues (as Tarski himself would have agreed, I’m sure). I also taught seminars in the philosophy of language, principally on Grice, Davidson, and Dummett.

After my doctorate, I became intrigued by generative linguistics, initially due to an interest in being more rigorous about Davidson’s semantic program, but it quickly became an end in itself. Unable to secure a permanent position, I got by on part-time teaching, including at Warwick, Anglia Polytechnic University (Cambridge), and some A-level colleges. To say that these years were deeply frustrating does not scratch the surface. On the plus side, I was able to develop my interests in my own time and deepen my understanding of current linguistics.

I eventually secured a permanent position at UEA in 2003. I have taught a cluster of units here, but have as my staple, Kant, Logic, and Language in Mind. I currently have three PhD students working on issues at the interface of philosophy and cognitive science.

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To view my publications list, please click here.

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