Brendan Murday

Brendan Murday

Associate Dean, School of Humanities and Sciences

Specialty:Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics, Epistemology.
Phone:(607) 274-7029
Office:210 Muller Center
Ithaca, NY 14850


- Ph.D., Syracuse University, Philosophy

- B.A., College of William and Mary, Philosophy and Economics

I joined the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Ithaca College in 2006, and began working in the H&S Dean's office in the fall of 2016.


Research Interests:

My current interests include:

- the "problem of the criterion", a chicken-and-egg question concerning whether we can have justification for beliefs about the criteria for belonging to a category unless we first have justification for beliefs about which items in fact belong to that category, and vice versa.  For instance: can we have justification for believing that Michelangelo's David is a work of art without first having justification for believing a certain definition of the concept 'art'?  And can we can have justification for believing that a certain definition of the concept 'art' is correct without first having justification for beliefs about which things count as works of art?  I'm interested in a number of questions related to this problem.

- the semantics of "singular terms" (terms used to talk about a single thing), particularly definite descriptions and names for fictional characters.  And relatedly, the metaphysics of fictional characters.  Does the name 'Sherlock Holmes' actually refer to something (perhaps a thing created by Conan Doyle), or do we merely pretend that the name refers?  If Conan Doyle created something that we refer to in using the name 'Sherlock', did Tolkien also create things that we talk about in using the term 'orcs'?

- the structure of "epistemic justification".  What does it take for a belief to count as justified, and in particular might the justification can a proposition be justified by an infinite series of further propositions?

- free will and moral responsibility: what would it take for us to count as possessing free will?


Teaching Interests:

I enjoy teaching introductory-level philosophy, logic, and a variety of upper-division philosophy courses in the philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.


Selected Publications:

‘Fictional Realism and Indeterminate Identity’, Journal of Philosophical Research, 40, 2015: 205-225.

Definite Descriptions and Semantic Pluralism’, Philosophical Papers, 43 (2), 2014: 255-284.

Names and Obstinate Rigidity’, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 51 (2), 2013: 224-242.

Two-Dimensionalism and Fictional Names’, in Truth in Fiction, edited by Franck Lihoreau, Ontos Verlag, 2011: 43-76.