About Jesus College/Our community/ People
Professor Daniel Altshuler

Roles and subjects

Tutorial Fellow in Linguistics , Dean



Academic Background


Professor Daniel Altshuler is Associate Professor of Semantics at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow in Linguistics at Jesus College. He studied at UCLA, where he got his BA in philosophy, with a minor in linguistics. He got his PhD in linguistics from Rutgers University, with a certificate in cognitive science. 

Professor Altshuler was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Hampshire College from 2010-2011 and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore College from 2011-2012. For three years thereafter, he was an Assistant Professor of Semantics at Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf before coming back to Hampshire College, where he was promoted to an Associate Professor of Linguistics in the School of Cognitive Science. Professor Altshuler joined Jesus College in July 2020.

Professor Altshuler currently serves on the editorial board for Linguistics and Philosophy and Semantics and PragmaticsHis monograph, Events, States and Times. An essay on narrative discourse in English won De Gruyter’s Emerging Scholar Monograph Competition, awarded for the best monograph proposal.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Teaching

Professor Altshuler teaches and supervises students in the areas of semantics and pragmatics. He has an active interest in developing pedagogical texts and interdisciplinary projects that promote student-centered learning. In 2019, Professor Altshuler published A Course in Semantics with MIT Press (co-authored with Terence Parsons and Roger Schwarzschild). It is an introductory text that uniquely balances empirical coverage and formalism with development of intuition and methodology.

Research Interests

Professor Altshuler’s primary research interests are in the areas of semantics and pragmaticsThe theme of his research is context dependence with the aim of better understanding how compositional semantics interacts with discourse structure and discourse coherence. His monograph, Events, States and Times. An essay on narrative discourse in English (2016, De Gruyter) investigates the temporal interpretation of narrative discourse, looking at the semantics and pragmatics of the word, now, and past and present tenses in English. His monograph (co-authored with Robert Truswell), Coordination and the Syntax-Discourse Interface (OUP, 2022), explores interactions between syntactic structure and discourse structure, through a focused case study of patterns of extraction from coordinate structures. Currently, he is working with Scott AnderBois on coordinate structures in A’ingae, focusing on clause linkage and switch reference. He’s also working with Julian J. Schlöder on the semantics and pragmatics of narrative discourse, including discourse composed of linguistic and pictorial elements. They are writing a book (under contract with OUP) called: Discourse interpretation: A formal theory of coherence relations.

Professor Altshuler’s research also explores how compositional semantics interacts with coherence at the sub-clausal level. He’s currently working with Kelsey Sasaki to experimentally test several hypotheses about how the interpretation of adjectives interacts with the interpretation of verbs. 

Professor Altshuler’s research in philosophy of language and philosophy of literature explores how literary discourse motivates particular extensions of dynamic-semantic frameworks. In particular, he is exploring imaginative resistance with Emar Maier and narrative frustration with Christina S. Kim. He is also writing a new monograph on garden-pathing in the French novella, Sylvie. The monograph (co-authored with Dag Haug) is entitled Literature as a Formal Language (under contract with Routledge). It is an ode to Richard Montague’s pioneering work in the 1970s.

Professor Altshuler is the editor of Linguistics Meets Philosophy (CUP, 2022), which empowers new conversations between linguists and philosophers by showing how far formal semantics has come because of the conversations between the two disciplines, and critically assessing prior conversations, those currently taking place and those in a dire need of happening.

Please see Professor Altshuler’s personal web page for further details.


Subject notes for courses taught at Jesus College: