Robert Schwartzkopff

RobertRobert joined the Nominalizations project in October 2013. During his time in the project, he conducted his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. Robert has recently completed and defended his DPhil thesis The Numbers of the Marketplace. Commitment to Numbers in Natural Language (Supervisor: Alexander Paseau | Examiners: Matti Eklund, Volker Halbach).

Robert’s main research focus is on the philosophy of language. In particular, he is interested in the linguistic presuppositions of ‘language-first’ arguments for numerical realism—i.e. the view that numbers exist—advanced in the Quinean and neo-Fregean traditions. As such, his works draws heavily on methods and results from contemporary formal semantics. In addition, Robert is interested in the history of analytic philosophy—in particular, Frege’s philosophy of mathematics and language – and the philosophy of religion – in particular, the problem of evil.

As a member of the Nominalizations project, Robert has worked on issues related to subproject IP2 (“Metaontological Issues”). In his thesis, Robert investigates the question of whether natural language contains numerical singular terms – expressions that refer to numbers if they refer at all – and, by extension, the question of whether natural language carries ontological commitment to numbers. In particular, his thesis evaluates and criticizes certain tests for being a singular term proposed in the neo-Fregean tradition and, moreover, scrutinizes and dismisses recent arguments for the claim that the number-words in sentences like ‘The number of planets is eight’ do not function as (numerical) singular terms. An article derived from his thesis entitled ‘Singular Terms Revisited’ has since been accepted for publication in Synthese. Another such manuscript with the title ‘Number Sentences and Specificational Sentences’ is currently under review with Philosophical Studies.

You can visit Robert’s personal home page here.