Zachary William Lee Goodsell
I will be a Bersoff fellow at NYU in the 2023-24 academic year, and an assistant professor at NUS from August 2024. I completed my doctorate at the University of Southern California in 2023. Before that I studied at the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland in Australia.
My research interests include logic, decision theory, epistemology and the philosophy of probability, ethics, metaphysics, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of language.
Contact me at zacharyw[dot]goodsell[at]gmail[dot]com. [CV (outdated)]
“Decision Theory Unbound” Forthcoming in Noûs 82 (2): 214-221. A general axiomatic framework for decision theory in the presence of unbounded value is developed by investigating various consequences and consistency results.
“Unbounded Utility”. Dissertation at the University of Southern California. Addresses technical problems for the thesis of unbounded utility in decision theory.
“Tossing Morgenbesser's Coin”. In Analysis 82 (2): 214-221. Morgenbesser's Coin is a thought experiment that exemplifies a pervasive tendency to infer counterfactual independence from causal independence. I argue that this tendency is mistaken by way of a closely related thought experiment.
“Arithmetic is Determinate”. In the Journal of Philosophical Logic 51: 127-150. Arithmetical truths are shown to be determinately true in a minimal plural modal logic for determinacy.
“A St Petersburg Paradox for Risky Welfare Aggregation”. In Analysis 81 (3): 420-426. The principle of Anteriority says that prospects are equally good if they are equally good for every possible person. I show that Anteriority is inconsistent with some very plausible principles of axiology and decision theory.
“What is an Extended Simple Region?” (with Michael Duncan and Kristie Miller). In Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3): 649-659. We propose a novel view about what could make a spatial region extended (that is, bigger than a point), and investigate some consequences of this view.
Works in progress
Philosophy of logic and mathematics
Logical Foundations with Juhani Yli-Vakkuri. In this book we put forward a new logical system, LF, and demonstrate how to reduce logic and mathematics to LF, as well as semantics to LF plus the axioms of syntax.
Philosophy of language
“On Semantic Adequacy of Formal Systems”. I investigate conditions under which Tarski-style truth and meaning definitions are possible.
“Defining Meaning” with Juhani Yli-Vakkuri. We show how to define meaning in finite-order fragments of the simply typed lambda calculus.
“A Categorical Theory of Truth” with Juhani Yli-Vakkuri. We present a natural theory from which Tarskian truth definitions may be derived.
Epistemology and Philosophy of Probability
A paper on nonmeasurable sets in probability theory with Jake Nebel.
Axiology and decision theory
“Adding Lotteries”. Seidenfeld, Schervish, and Kadane (2009) have proposed a principle which says that to compare two risky prospects, you can look at the how much utility you would miss out on by taking one over the other. As they recognise, this principle has important ramifications for the rest of decision theory. I further develop the arguments for and against the principle.
“[Anonymized for review]”. Various authors have argued that multiplying the utility of all the possible outcomes by the same amount in each of two prospects should not change which of the two is better. I derive some surprising consequences of principles like this, show that they are nevertheless consistent, and argue that we should accept them.
“Morality does not encroach” with John Hawthorne. The thesis of moral encroachment says that morality can affect what doxastic states are epistemically appropriate. John and I argue that the arguments and motivations for accepting moral encroachment would also show that morality affects which credences are most epistemically appropriate. We then show that widely accepted constraints on credence do not leave room for moral encroachment as its proponents envision.
Website last updated June 2023.