Alex Silk

Colleges, School and Institutes


I joined the Philosophy Department in 2013 after completing my PhD in philosophy at the University of Michigan. My research is primarily in philosophy of language, ethics, and metaethics. In 2018 I finished a 2.5-year AHRC Research Grant with Daniel Rothschild (UCL) on Context-Sensitivity in Natural Language. In 2019–20 I took up a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. My 2016 book, Discourse Contextualism (OUP), defends contextualism about a range of expressions that have figured in contextualism/relativism debates. I am currently working on a systematic compositional semantic framework which posits explicit representations of context in linguistic structure and meaning. My forthcoming book, Semantics with Assignment Variables (CUP), develops the framework and applies it to diverse linguistic shifting phenomena, such as with quantifiers, attitude ascriptions, relative clauses, questions, and conditionals. Other projects include work on adjectives, questions, mood, Nietzsche, and vagueness.

Research interests

  • Specializations: Philosophy of Language, Metaethics, Formal Semantics & Pragmatics
  • Competencies: Ethics, Nietzsche, Epistemology, Logic, Philosophy of Law

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, University of Michigan

    “What Normative Terms Mean and Why It Matters for Ethical Theory"

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

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