Department of Philosophy and the College
Malte Willer’s main area of interest lies in philosophy of language and philosophical logic, specifically the dynamic perspective on meaning and communication. His current research focuses on the semantics of modal expressions (like “might,” “must,” and “ought,”) and its significance for foundational issues in philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. He advocates a novel way of thinking about meaning that focuses on the dynamic discourse effects of linguistic expressions and thus substantially differs from classical theories of meaning, which focus on truth conditions.
Willer has written and recently published on epistemic modals (“Realizing What Might Be,” forthcoming in Philosophical Studies) and conditionals (“New Surprises for the Ramsey Test,” Synthese (76 , 2010, 291–309), and is currently working on issues in deontic logic and the semantics of moral discourse.
Willer received his graduate training at the University of Texas at Austin, where he wrote his dissertation, “Modality in Flux.” Before that, he studied philosophy, logic, and theory of science at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and at Oxford University.
Willer joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2010.