Hi, I'm Mike Deigan, a philosophy PhD candidate at Yale with broad interests.
Starting Fall 2020 I will be a Mellon Foundation Postdotoral Fellow in Philosophy at Rutgers.
My dissertation is on the epistemology of concepts. I want to know what, given one's evidence, one should be able to think.
Besides this, I mostly work on language and ethics, trying to answer questions like “What does the word ‘a’ mean?” and “How should we live?”.
Here's my cv.
Below are some papers I've written, as well as slides and handouts for talks.
Comments/questions are welcome!
I argue that concept possession has an epistemic opportunity cost, even for highly idealized agents.
S stupefies A when A accepts S's assertion without understanding it.
I argue stupefying is an important means both for good (cooperative, jointly rational inquiry) and bad (manipulation of others against their own interests), in ways that current models of conversation do not account for.
I argue that to make sense of the permissibility of offsetting, we need to replace the standard deontological constraint against harm with one against unoffset harm increases.
It is usually assumed without question that the final value of a world is derived from the value of its parts. I argue its worth considering a priority monism about value akin to the ontological priority monism defended by Schaffer (2010).
Kit Fine (2017) distinguishes between inexact and exact truthmaking. He argues that the former can be defined from the latter, but not vice versa, so truthmaker semanticists should treat the exact variety of truthmaking as primitive. I argue that this is mistaken. We can define exact truthmaking in terms of inexact truthmaking and we can't define inexact truthmaking in terms of exact truthmaking. I conclude that it's inexact truthmaking, rather than exact truthmaking, that truthmaker semanticists should treat as the primitive semantic relation.
I present data that suggest the universal entailments of counterfactual donkey sentences aren't as universal as some (Van Rooij (2005) and Walker and Romero (2015)) have claimed. I argue that this favors the strategy of attributing the universal entailments to a special property of the similarity ordering on worlds provided by some contexts, rather than to a semantically encoded sensitivity to assignment.
We sometimes lead double lives in the consequents of counterfactuals. In counteridenticals like 'If I were you, I would like me.', 'I' and 'me' seem to pick out different individuals. This, I argue, is a problem for the orthodox Kripke-Kaplan view of indexicals as rigid designators, a view which requires 'I' and 'me' to have the same referent in all worlds of evaluation.
I show this problem is not limited to counteridenticals, but also appears in 'ordinary' counterfactuals like "If I were a policeman, I would arrest me." and modal subordination, as in "I could have been a policeman. I would have arrested me for what I just did." So the problem cannot be solved by a special treatment of counteridenticals. Nor, I argue, can it be analyzed as involving descriptive indexicals. Instead, we should make a more dramatic fix, such as moving to counterpart theory for de re modal ascriptions.