Submitted by Joseph G. Moore on Tuesday, 5/9/2017, at 2:36 PM


All of my research centers, in one way or another, on questions of “individuation”—why and how we identify things with one another, and how we tell them apart. I’m most interested in cases where such questions are difficult to answer, either because our concepts are unsettled or because the world itself is indeterminate. At its most abstract, my research engages fundamental issues about the nature of the world, and the way we think and talk about it—issues that are central to my traditional sub-fields of philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and metaphysics. Early in my career, the “things” whose identity concerned me were also fairly abstract—numbers, propositions, concepts and beliefs, for example. More recently, though, I’ve written about the individuation of musical works and sounds, composed entities like mountains, sporting activities, and, most importantly, people—particularly, future generations of people. It’s not just because I’m interested in these things that I ask about their identity. It’s also because their individuation is, in my view, central to the philosophical areas to which I’ve extended my scholarly interest—aesthetics (particularly, philosophy of music), environmental philosophy (particularly, population ethics) and now the philosophy of sport. Here’s a list of selected publications:

  • “Misdisquotation and Substitutivity: When Not to Infer Belief from Assent,” Mind

  • “Propositions Without Identity,” Noûs

  • “Saving Substitutivity in Simple Sentences,” Analysis

  • “Propositions, Numbers and the Problem of Arbitrary Identification,” Synthese

  • “Did Clinton Lie?,” Analysis

  • “A Modal Argument Against Vague Objects,” Philosophers’ Imprint

  • “Artistic Expression Goes Green,” Acta Analytica

  • “Conceiving Musical Transdialection,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

  • “Musical Works: a Metaphysical Mash-up,” in an edited volume

  • “It’s Legit: Signaling Performative Authenticity in Jazz Recordings”, forthcoming



I’m blessed to work at Amherst College, where I can freely pursue my diverse scholarly interests in the classroom with wonderful students. My intellectual spread has led me to develop many different courses, and also to help found our Environmental Studies Department. Here are some courses I’ve taught over the years:

  • Philosophical Questions

  • Environmental Philosophy

  • Aesthetics

  • Philosophy of Sport

  • Choice, Chance and Conflict

  • Metaphysics

  • Philosophy of Mind

  • Philosophy Seminar: Mind and Representation

  • Philosophy Seminar: Ethics and Metaphysics of Belief

  • Philosophy Seminar: Consciousness

  • Philosophy Seminar: Identity

  • Philosophy Seminar: Philosophy of Music

  • Philosophy Seminar: Speech & Harm

  • Philosophy/Environmental Studies Seminar: Population Ethics

  • First-Year Seminar: The Value of Nature

  • First-Year Seminar: The Sporting Life