Eric Swanson
Behavioral Science, Computer Science, Informatics, Social Science
Artificial Intelligence, Bayesian Methods, Causal Inference, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing

Eric Swanson


Philosophy, School of Literature, Science and the Arts

Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Linguistics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Most of my current work is in social and political philosophy of language and metaethics. It pays special attention to relationships between language, context, and ideology, to the particularities of speech situations, and to the norms governing language use. I’m especially interested in how the force of language can go beyond the information that is apparent to or shared amongst discourse participants.

Recently I’ve been thinking about how the above makes trouble (a.k.a. interesting but sometimes scary new things to think about) for work on artificial intelligence, artificial general intelligence, and automated content moderation and promotion.

I have continuing interests in the interfaces between language and epistemology (epistemic modals and conditionals), language and metaphysics (causal talk and the logic of causation), language and ethics (deontic modals), and on two frameworks for linguistic theorizing that bear on the above—‘constraint semantics’ and ‘ordering super­valua­tionism.’

Additional Information

What are some of your most interesting projects?

One of my recent papers argues that not saying a particular thing can generate a conversational implicature — a means of conveying a message without explicitly committing oneself to that message. Debates about such ‘omissive implicatures’ are especially common in online language use.

How did you end up where you are today?

What is the most significant scientific contribution you would like to make?

What makes you excited about your data science and AI research?

Contemporary work in AI interacts with countless interesting and pressing philosophical questions.

What are 1-3 interesting facts about yourself?