Delia Graff Fara
Education and career
A 1991 graduate of Harvard University, Graff Fara earned her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997 under the supervision of George Boolos and Robert Stalnaker. She joined the Princeton faculty the same year as an assistant professor, moving to Cornell University in 2001 and then returning to Princeton as a tenured associate professor in 2005. She died in July 2017.
Graff Fara is best known for her work on the problem of vagueness, where she defends an interest-relative theory of "contextualism." In her most influential article, Shifting sands: An interest-relative theory of vagueness, she argues that the meanings of vague expressions render the truth conditions of utterances of sentences containing them sensitive to our interests. On her view, "interest relativity extends to all vague words. For instance, ‘child’ means a degree of immaturity that is significant to the speaker. Since the interests of the speaker shifts over time, there is an opportunity for a shift in the extension of ‘child’."
- "Shifting Sands: An Interest Relative Theory of Vagueness." Philosophical Topics 28 (2000):45–81.
- "Descriptions As Predicates." Philosophical Studies 102 (2001):1-42.
- "Phenomenal Continua and the Sorites." Mind 110 (2001):905-935.
- The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language (co-editr with Gillian Russell). Routledge, 2011.
- "Names Are Predicates." Philosophical Review 124 (2015):59-117.