I'm a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Williams College Philosophy Department. I specialize in philosophy of language and formal semantics/pragmatics. I also enjoy reading and teaching topics in philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and philosophical logic.My research focuses on the situated aspects of communication—how things like gestures and facial expressions can convey meanings, and how things like attention monitoring can affect interpretation.

I aim to understand the nature of communication by taking data from situated conversations as central. I am interested in the processes that underlie the production and interpretation of communicative acts (verbal and non-verbal, intentional and unintentional), and apply formal methods to elucidate these abstract processes.


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Deictic (or pointing) gestures are traditionally known to have a simple function: to supply something as the referent of a demonstrative linguistic expression. I argue that deixis can play a more complex discourse function. A deictic gesture can be used to say something in conversation and can thereby become a full discourse contribution in its own right. To capture this phenomenon, which I call rich demonstration, I present an update semantics on which (a) deictic gestures can indicate situations from a conversation’s context, and (b) those situations coherently connect to prior discourse to generate information

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This paper presents an analysis of face emoji (disc-shaped pictograms with stylized facial expressions) that accompany written text (such as the sentence "I'm hungry"). We propose that there is a use of face emoji in which they comment on a proposition p provided by the accompanying text, as opposed to making an entirely independent contribution. Focusing on positively valenced and negatively valenced emoji (which we gloss as "happy" and "unhappy", respectively), we argue that the emoji comment on how p bears on a contextually provided discourse value V of the author. Discourse values embody what an author desires, aspires to, wishes for, or hopes for. Our analysis derives a range of non-trivial generalizations, including (i) ordering restrictions with regards to the placement of emoji and text, (ii) cases of apparent mixed emotions, and (iii) cases where the lexical content of the accompanying text influences the acceptability of a face emoji.

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I discuss a phenomenon I call rich demonstration, wherein a demonstrative gesture is seemingly used to communicate an entire thought. I present an analysis based in dis- course coherence theory on which rich demonstrations have their functions in virtue of the interpretive effects of discourse-structuring mechanisms.

Syllabi available on request


Discourse Dynamics (Williams)

Cross-Listed: Philosophy & Cognitive Science

Spring 2023


Meaning, Communication, and Society (Williams)

Spring 2023, Fall 2022


Intro to Formal Linguistics (Williams)

Cross-Listed: Philosophy & Cognitive Science

Fall 2022


Symbolic Logic I (UCLA)

Summer 2022, Summer 2021


Language & Identity (UCLA)

Cross-Listed: Philosophy & Linguistics

Summer 2019