Paul Elbourne

Paul Elbourne
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I read Greats (1993) and took an MPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology at Oxford (1997) before doing my PhD at MIT (2002). There I followed the interdisciplinary PhD programme in semantics, which involves training in linguistics and philosophy. Before joining the Oxford Philosophy Faculty (2015), I taught at Marlboro College, New York University, and Queen Mary, University of London.

2020 'Literal vs enriched meaning: It’s raining'. In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Semantics, edited by Daniel Gutzmann, Lisa Matthewson, Cécile Meier, Hotze Rullmann, and Thomas Ede Zimmermann. Wiley.
2020 'Weather predicates, binding, and radical contextualism'. Mind and Language.
2019 'Vagueness, contextualism, and ellipsis'. Semantics and Pragmatics 12(22): 1–16.
2018 'Definite descriptions and negative existential quantifiers'. Philosophical Studies 175(7): 1597–1612.
2016 'Incomplete descriptions and indistinguishable participants'. Natural Language Semantics 24(1): 1–43.
2016 'Multi-sentential category mistakes'. Inquiry 59(5): 542–558.
2013 Definite Descriptions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2011 Meaning: A Slim Guide to Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2010 'The existence entailments of definite descriptions'. Linguistics and Philosophy 33(1): 1–10.
2010 'On bishop sentences'. Natural Language Semantics 18(1): 65–78.
2010 'Why propositions might be sets of truth-supporting circumstances'. Journal of Philosophical Logic 39(1): 101–111.
2008 'The argument from binding'. Philosophical Perspectives 22: 89–110.
2008 'Demonstratives as individual concepts'. Linguistics and Philosophy 31(4): 409–466.
2005 Situations and Individuals. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.


  • Formal semantics and the philosophy of language 
  • Ethics

I give undergraduate tutorials, lectures, and classes in General Philosophy, Moral Philosophy (Mill), Ethics, Practical Ethics, Knowledge and Reality, General Linguistics, Wittgenstein, and the Philosophy of Logic and Language. At the graduate level, I teach formal semantics and the philosophy of language.