1. Please provide a brief outline of your training and scientific activity.
I studied linguistics and philosophy in Germany and the US and received a Ph D in linguistics at MIT in 1992. I subsequently taught philosophy and linguistics at various universities in Europe and the US. I am currently research director at the French Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). In recent years, I was visiting researcher at New York University and visiting professor at the University of Padua and the University of Dusseldorf. My research focuses on the interface between natural language semantics and philosophy, often in relation to generative syntax. My particular interest is natural language ontology, the branch of metaphysics whose subject matter is the ontology implicit in natural language.
2. Please state your reasons for choosing Venice and the Department for your research and teaching stay and what are your expectations regarding our University in general and our Department in particular?
While visiting the linguistics department at Ca Foscari, I will work on a book Objects and Attitudes, under contract with Oxford University Press. The book pursues an approach of what I call 'object-based truthmaker semantics' to the semantics of attitude reports and modals, based on a novel ontology of attitudinal and modal objects and their truthmakers. I will in particular develop the syntactic aspects of that approach, taking into account recent syntactic research on embedded clauses and modals as well as recent theoretical approaches. The linguistics department at Ca Foscari offers an exceptional opportunity to interact with syntacticians that have a particular expertise in clausal complementation, modals, quotation, and DP structure. This will greatly benefit not only my particular project, but also help me gain a better understanding and competence in generative syntax in general.