about

I'm an associate post-doc at the Institut Jean Nicod. I specialize in topics at the interface of analytic philosophy and linguistic theory, but I'm also interested in core metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and comparative philosophy. In the more (not so) distant past, I've done research in the history of philosophy, the history of ideas, and classical studies. I did my graduate work across Italy (San Raffaele), France (Institut Jean Nicod), and the United States (Harvard, MIT).

profile pic

work

Below some of my recent manuscripts and publications. Topics I'm currently exploring include:

  • the zero-shot interpretation of neologisms;
  • the phenomenal correlates of meaning apprehension in speech perception;
  • the interaction between quotation and focus in sign language;
  • brands of fictionalism in the metatheory of natural language linguistics;
  • parallels and non-parallels between musical and linguistic meaning.

Phonetic segments and the organization of speech
To appear, Philosophy of Science
[show/hide abstract | preprint]

According to mainstream linguistic phonetics, speech can be modeled as a string of discrete sound segments or “phones” drawn from a universal phonetic inventory. Recent work has argued that a mature phonetics should refrain from theorizing about speech and speech processing using sound segments, and that the phone concept should be eliminated from linguistic theory. The paper lays out the tenets of the phone methodology and evaluates its prospects in light of the eliminativist arguments. I claim that the eliminativist arguments fail to show that the phone concept should be eliminated from linguistic theory.

Pronominal anaphora, coreference, and closed quotation marks
To appear, Mind & Language
[show/hide abstract | link]

Consider the following sentence: "Mary meditated on the sentence 'Bill is a good friend' and concluded that he was a good friend". It is standardly assumed that in sentences of this sort, containing so‐called "closed" quotations, the expressions occurring between quotation marks are mentioned and do not take their ordinary referents. The quoted NP "Bill" refers, if anything, to the name 'Bill', not to the individual Bill. At the same time, the pronoun "he", apparently anaphoric on quoted "Bill", refers to the individual Bill. The case seems thus to invalidate the intuitive principle that pronouns anaphoric on referential expressions inherit their reference from their antecedents. The paper formulates the argument, argues that sentences exhibiting the described pattern do not constitute evidence against the intuitive principle, and proposes an alternative account of the anaphoric relation involved.

Priority cosmopsychism and the Advaita Vedānta
To appear, Philosophy East and West
[show/hide abstract | link]

The combination of panpsychism and priority monism leads to priority cosmopsychism, the view that the consciousness of individual sentient creatures is derivative of an underlying cosmic consciousness. It has been suggested that contemporary priority cosmopsychism parallels central ideas in the Advaita Vedānta tradition. The paper offers a critical evaluation of this claim. It argues that the Advaitic account of consciousness cannot be characterized as an instance of priority cosmopsychism, points out the differences between the two views, and suggests an alternative positioning of the Advaitic canon within the landscape of contemporary debate on monism and panpsychism.

Originalism about word types
Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (2016): 126-133
[show/hide abstract | link]

According to Originalism, word types are non-eternal continuants which are individuated by their causal-historical lineage and have a unique possible time of origination. This view collides with the intuition that individual words can be added to the lexicon of a language at different times, and generates other problematic consequences. The paper shows that such undesired results can be accommodated without abandoning Originalism.

Mental files and the lexicon
Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2016): 463-472
[show/hide abstract | link]

This paper presents the hypothesis that the representational repertoire underpinning our ability to process the lexical items of a natural language can be modeled as a system of mental files. To start, I clarify the basic phenomena that an account of lexical knowledge should be able to elucidate. Then, I propose to evaluate whether the mental files theory can be brought to bear on an account of the representational format of lexical knowledge by modeling mental words as recognitional files.

Word meaning (with Diego Marconi)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Summer 2015 Edition
[show/hide abstract | link]

Word meaning has played a somewhat marginal role in early contemporary philosophy of language, which was primarily concerned with the structural features of sentences and showed less interest in the nature of lexical representations. Nowadays, it is well-established that the way we account for word meaning is bound to have a major impact in tipping the balance in favor or against any given picture of the fundamental properties of human language. This entry provides an overview of the way issues related to lexical meaning have been explored in analytic philosophy and a summary of relevant research on the subject in neighboring scientific domains. Though the main focus of the entry is on philosophical problems, contributions from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience and artificial intelligence are also considered.

Minimal semantics and word sense disambiguation
Disputatio 39 (2014): 147-171
[show/hide abstract | link]

Emma Borg has defined semantic minimalism as the thesis that the literal content of well-formed declarative sentences is truth-evaluable, fully determined by their lexico-syntactic features, and recoverable by language users with no need to access non-linguistic information. The task of this article is threefold. First, I shall raise a criticism to Borg's minimalism based on how speakers disambiguate homonymy. Second, I will explore some ways Borg might respond to my argument and maintain that none of them offers a conclusive reply to my case. Third, I shall suggest that in order for Borg’s minimalism to accommodate the problem discussed in this paper, it should allow for semantically incomplete content and be converted into a claim about linguistic competence.

misc

refereeing
Journals: Erkenntnis (×4), Synthese (×3), Dialectica (×2), Topoi (×2), International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Sistemi Intelligenti.
Books: Bloomsbury.

membership
American Philosophical Association
Aristotelian Society
European Society for Analytic Philosophy
Società Italiana di Filosofia Analitica
Harvard Alumni Association

languages
Italian, English, French, Latin, Ancient Greek
Python 2.x & 3.x, HTML 5, CSS 3, LaTeX, Markdown

arts
Classically trained musician: guitar & concert flute
Singer (bass) in the choir of the Conservatoire W.A. Mozart, Paris 1er