Professor Altshuler 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 Pragmatics. His 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.
Professor Altshuler's primary research interests are in the areas of semantics and pragmatics. The 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), Extraction from Coordinate Structures at the Syntax-Discourse Interface, explores interactions between syntactic structure and discourse structure, through a focused case study of patterns of extraction involving the word, and. It is forthcoming with Oxford University Press next year.
Professor Altshuler's research also explores how literary discourse motivates particular extensions of dynamic-semantic frameworks. In particular, he is exploring the phenomenon of imaginative resistance in fiction and 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 has also worked on the phonetics, phonology and documentation of Osage and has active interests in philosophy of language and philosophy of literature (including their intersections, with broader questions in philosophy of art and narratology). His new edited volume, Linguistics meets Philosophy, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
Please see Professor Altshuler's personal web page for further details.
Subject notes for courses taught at Jesus College: