Yasha Sapir

Curriculum Vitae


Email: jsapir [at] usc [dot] edu

I'm a third year philosophy graduate student at the University of Southern California. My main research interests are in epistemology and philosophy of language.

Before USC, I was at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. And before that I was at Reed College


We defend the norm that interrogative attitudes directed at a particular question are never compatible with knowledge of the question’s answer. We further argue that this norm is exhaustive. All epistemic positions weaker than knowledge directed at the answer to a question are compatible with having an interrogative attitude towards that question. We support this conclusion with two arguments. First, we construct an argument based on considerations about the role of hedging in inquiry. Second, we construct an argument that's conditional on considerations related to the aim of inquiry as a goal-directed activity.

Works in Progress

A paper on when a question is fit to be wondered about.

I raise a puzzle for fans of the norm that wonder and knowledge of the question being wondered about's answer are incompatible; and then use the puzzle to motivate that whether a question is fit to be wondered about is partly a function of what the wondering agent is interested in.

A paper on the semantics of slurs.

I discuss how the background understandings used by speakers interact with conversational norms; and use this discussion to motivate a novel theory of slurs.

A paper on vague communication. 

I discuss how hearers may change their credences in response to assertions of vague sentences. 

Graduate Speculative Society

For the 2022-2023 academic year, I ran USC's Graduate Speculative Society: a venue where USC philosophy graduate students can practice giving talks to each other in a colloquium format.