I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Rochester. My areas of research specialization are philosophy of language and epistemology.
The research project that I am working on right now concerns the connection between open questions and modality. That is, I am interested in the consequences of viewing the space of possibilities as the space of answers to open questions. Whereas it is common in both philosophy and linguistics to take as primitive an exhaustive space of maximal possibilities–the set of possible worlds–I think this conception of modality falls short in explaining why modality is so central to our reasoning and what different flavors of modality (metaphysical, deontic, epistemic) have in common with each other.
I am also interested in understanding the context in which expressions are used and interpreted, and in understanding how various linguistic expressions are defined in terms of the context. The work stemming from my dissertation defends a position that I call Context Constructivism. According to this position, the context relative to which an indexical gets its content is constructed by the conversational participants.
In epistemology, I am primarily interested in the connection between what we know and what we trust to be the case. I have argued that what we know depends on what we trust, and that the normativity of knowledge is fundamentally centered on trust. Further, I am interested in exploring the connections between my views about knowledge and my views about modality and context. Specifically, I believe that knowledge concerns matters that are settled, whereas epistemic possibility and necessity arise only for matters that are open.
My email address is: brett [dot] sherman [at] rochester [dot] edu
My CV can be found here.