Teresa Robertson Ishii

Associate Professor of Philosophy
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Office Location

South Hall 5714

Specialization

  • Philosophy of Language
  • Metaphysics

Education

  • PhD, Princeton University

Research

My primary research interests are in topics that fall into the areas of metaphysics and philosophy of language, especially where the two (at least seem to) intersect. I have published articles on origin essentialism, the sorites paradox, reference to kinds, and the paradox of flexible origin essentialism. More and more, I find myself attracted to paradoxes. I like their "clean lines": confronted with a few claims that seem intuitively plausible but that lead to contradiction, one is forced to reject an initially appealing claim. That's a situation ripe for learning something significant. Or, as Tarski put it, "In this way we have arrived at an obvious contradiction. In my judgment, it would be quite wrong and dangerous from the standpoint of scientific progress to depreciate the importance of this and other antinomies, and to treat them as jokes or sophistries. It is a fact that we are here in the presence of an absurdity, that we have been compelled to assert a false sentence … If we take our work seriously, we cannot be reconciled with this fact. We must discover its cause, that is to say, we must analyze premises upon which the antinomy is based; we must then reject at least one of these premises, and we must investigate the consequences which this has for the whole domain of our research" (Alfred Tarski, "The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 (1944): 341-376, p. 348).

Publications

The following is a selected list of publications.

  • “Is Chandler’s Paradox a Sorites Paradox?” in On the Sorites Paradox (Otávio Bueno and Ali Abasnezhad, editors), Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science series, Synthese Library, Springer (forthcoming). 
  • “Some Highs and Lows of Hylomorphism: On a Paradox about Property Abstraction” (with Nathan Salmón), Philosophical Studies 177 (2020): 1549-1563.<doi: 10.1111/phpe.12117>
  • “A Puzzle about Kinds”, Philosophical Perspectives 32 (2018): 352-364. <doi: 10.1007/s11098-019-01274-4>
  • “Modal Paradox” in Naming, Necessity, and More: Proceedings of the University of Haifa International Conference on the Work of Saul Kripke (Jonathan Berg, editor), Palgrave Macmillan (2014): 54-80.
  • “Essentialism and Reference to Kinds”, Philosophical Books 50.3 (July 2009): 125-141.
  • “On Soames’s Solution to the Sorites Paradox”, Analysis 60.4 (October 2000): 328-334.
  • “Essentialism: Origin and Order”, Mind 109 (April 2000): 299-307.
  • “Possibilities and the Arguments for Origin Essentialism”, Mind 107 (October 1998): 729-749.