Alex Silk

Mr., Dr.

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I'm happy to supervise graduate students in philosophy of language, ethics, and metaethics.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I joined the Philosophy Department in 2013 after completing my PhD in philosophy at the University of Michigan. I specialise in philosophy of language, ethics, and metaethics. Much of my research has focused on normative uses of language and how incorporating insights from philosophy of language and linguistics can shed light on broader philosophical debates. My 2016 book, Discourse Contextualism (OUP), applies the project to a range of theoretically recalcitrant expressions, such as epistemic vocabulary, normative vocabulary, vague gradable adjectives, and predicates of personal taste. The paper "Normative Language in Context" (Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 12) was awarded the Marc Sanders Prize in Metaethics. Recent work has examined the prospects for a linguistic theory that posits explicit representations of context in linguistic structure and meaning. My 2021 book, Semantics with Assignment Variables (CUP), develops the syntax and compositional semantics and applies it to diverse linguistic shifting phenomena, such as with quantifiers, attitude ascriptions, relative clauses, questions, and conditionals. I also have projects on Nietzsche, predication, and philosophy of law. 

Research interests

  • Philosophy of Language, Metaethics, Ethics, Nietzsche

Grant projects:

  • Leverhulme Research Fellowship: “Context-Sensitivity in Normative Language and Discourse,” 2019–2020
  • AHRC Early Career Research Grant: “Context-Sensitivity in Natural Language,” 2016–2018

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, “What Normative Terms Mean and Why It Matters for Ethical Theory", University of Michigan

Award Date: 1 May 2013


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