Matthew Mandelkern

Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 32-D808
Cambridge, MA 02139

email: mandelk AT
I'm a graduate student in philosophy at MIT. I work mainly on the philosophy of language, with interests in epistemology and meta-ethics. I am also interested in ethics and ancient philosophy.

I study the way that information is communicated: how abstract representations of the world interact with concrete practices of conversation. I focus on two phenomena. The first is the language of epistemic modality. In my dissertation, I propose an account of epistemic modal claims according to which they are performatives which we use to negotiate what possibilities are treated as live in a conversation. The second is semantic presupposition: why, and how, does some content filter through entailment-canceling operators, and what does this tell us about the structure of language and thought?

Other current projects are on moral and epistemic luck, abilities and ability ascriptions, and Aristotle's conception of natural virtue.


A Note on the Architecture of Presupposition. Matthew Mandelkern. Forthcoming in Semantics and Pragmatics. [abstract] [handout] [pdf]

I Believe I Can φ. 2015. Matthew Mandelkern, Ginger Schultheis, and David Boylan. In Proceedings of the 20th Amsterdam Colloquium. Thomas Brochhagen, Floris Roelofsen and Nadine Theiler, editors, pp. 256-265. [abstract] [handout] [pdf]

Work in Progress:

Parsing, Presuppositions, and Structure in the Calculation of Local Contexts (with Jacopo Romoli) [abstract][pdf]

Epistemic Modals and the Common Ground [abstract]

‘Knows Might…’ [abstract] [handout]

A Solution to Karttunen’s Problem [abstract]