My main current project, as you might expect, is my dissertation, “John Buridan on Logical Consequence”. My primary task there is to bring the work of the influential Parisian logician John Buridan (†ca.1358) on the foundations of logic into dialogue with its modern counterparts. Most commentators have undertaken to do so by assimilating Buridan’s logic to modern approaches and systems. I claim (i) that what is most important about Buridan’s logic is the ways it differs from modern logic, and (ii) that it indeed differs significantly.
I address claims that Buridan’s modal logic is equivalent with some modern systems, like S5 or T. It is not, and that’s a very good thing: why pore over old Latin tomes, when you can get all the modal insights you need from 20th century analytical philosophers? If medieval thinkers have something to tell us, it’s because they agree with us on the problem, but disagree on the solution.
Lately I have been looking at later-medieval theories of inductive reasoning and empirical evidence. I expect that will be the kernel of my next major research project.
I currently have two philosophical papers under review: one deals with John Buridan’s notion of the notion of logical necessity; the other is about his modal semantics and system of axioms. (I have given parts of these papers as conference presentations, and so much of the information in them is contained in the handouts I’ve posted below.)
I have a linguistics paper under review, which gives a semantics for the Latin term exāmen, a term that (puzzlingly) means “an examination” but also “a swarm of bees”. I’ve got an account why, and I’ve found semantic parallels in other Indo-European languages, particularly Greek and Old Irish.
Currently, I am writing a paper that analyses the ways Latin syntax was regulated to disambiguate nested quantifiers, as in the famous ambiguous (English) sentence “Everybody loves somebody”.
Here are some papers I have recently given, and links to their handouts:
“Validity in John Buridan’s Modal Logic”.
American Symposium on the History of Logic, UCLA (spring 2019)
”John Buridan on what Makes an Inference Necessary”
American Philosophical Association - Pacific, Vancouver (spring 2019)
“Worlds Away: John Buridan’s Modal Semantics”. Collaborative Program in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy Work in Progress, University of Toronto. (Handout)
“Quid est Veritas? John Buridan on What Makes a Proposition True”. Toronto-Cologne Colloquium, University of Toronto. (Handout)
For more information, here’s a link to my CV.