Cian Dorr (NYU) delivers first virtual Hempel Lectures

Thursday, Oct 8, 2020

On the 30th anniversary of the Carl G. Hempel lecture series, Princeton alumnus Cian Dorr (Ph.D. 2002) presented the 2020 lecture series the way such things must be done these days – virtually.

“I vividly remember the Hempel lectures from my time there (at Princeton) and, at the time, they seemed like the central event in the central place at the center of the philosophical world,” said Dorr, currently a professor of philosophy at New York University.  “And I think that if I had known that I, myself, would one day be the one standing up there – or the virtual equivalent that we do now since we can’t stand in such places –  I think that would really have represented the fulfillment of my fondest wishes for my philosophical career,” he added.

“Cian has established himself as a true philosophical generalist in the tradition of his great teacher David Lewis,” Department of Philosophy Chair Gideon Rosen said. “He’s a leading figure in metaphysics, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of language and epistemology.” Rosen added “His work over these many subjects is marked by extraordinary rigor and intensity, but it is also filled with surprises and flights of imagination that show the kind of creativity and depth of insight that was apparent to all of us when he was a student here but that has been borne out abundantly by his subsequent distinguished career.”

With the series title “The Multiplicity of Meaning,” Dorr’s lectures discussed the thesis of plural signification: the claim that, almost always, when x​ bears a semantic relation to y, ​x bears that relation to many other entities very similar to y.

Full recordings of the 2020 Carl G. Hempel Lectures (presented September 21 – 23, 2020) are available through the links below:

Lecture 1: “The thesis of plural signification”

Lecture 2: “Plural signification and semantic plasticity”

Lecture 3: “Plural signification and semantic paradox”