Michael Nelson



Associate Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information

HMNSS 3305
951-827-1510 (message phone)


Ph.D., Princeton University, 2002

Areas of Interest

Philosophy of Language, focusing on propositional attitude reports, pragmatics, and indexicality; Metaphysics, focusing on the metaphysics of time and modality and the nature of particularity; Agency theory.


Professor Nelson taught as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Arizona and as an assistant professor at Yale University before coming to UCR. His research has focused on issues in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. He is interested in theories of communication and how, by uttering sentences, there is, in cases of success, a meeting of minds in which the audience comes to think the thought the speaker intended.

Selected Publications

“Time in Person and Thought,” in A. Capone and N. Feit, eds., Attitudes De Se: Linguistics, Epistemology, Metaphysics (Center for the Study of Language and Information, 2013).

“Existence”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/existence/

“Singular Propositions”, Fitch, Greg and Nelson, Michael, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition, updating Winter 2007 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/propositions-singular/

“A Defense of Contingent Logical Truths,” with Edward Zalta, Philosophical Studies 157: 1 (2012): 153-162.

“Default Compatibilism and Narrativity: Comments on John Martin Fischer’s Ways and Stories,” Social Theory and Practice 31: 1 (2011): 35-45.

“Intentional Contexts,” in Max Kolbel and Manuel Garcia-Carpintero, eds., Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Language (Continuum, 2011): 126-153.

“Propositional Attitude Reports,” McKay, Thomas and Nelson, Michael, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition, updating Winter 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/prop-attitude-reports/

“Quantifying In and Anti-Essentialism,” in N. Griffin and D. Jacquette, eds., Russell vs. Meinong: The Legacy of ‘On Denoting’ (Routledge, 2009): 297-342.

“The Contingency of Existence,” in L.M. Jorgensen and S. Newlands, eds., Metaphysics and the Good: Themes from the Philosophy of Robert Merrihew Adams (Oxford University Press, 2009): 95-155.

“Bennett and Proxy Actualism,” with Edward Zalta, Philosophical Studies 142: 2 (2009): 277-292.

“Frege and the Paradox of Analysis,” Philosophical Studies 137: 2 (2008)” 159-181.

“Ways an Actualist Might Be,” Philosophical Studies 133:3 (2007): 455-471.

“The Problem of Puzzling Pairs,” Linguistics and Philosophy 28:3 (2005): 319-350.

“Puzzling Pairs,” Philosophical Studies 108:1-2 (2002): 109-119.

“Descriptivism Defended,” Nous 36:3 (2002): 408-436.

“Presentists Should Believe in Time-Travel,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79:3 (2001): 333-345.

“Wittgenstein’s Incompleteness, Salmon’s Intuitions,” Nous 33:4 (1999): 573-589.