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Toby Napoletano, PhD

I am a lecturer in the Philosophy department at the University of California-Merced. I received my PhD in Philosophy from the University of Connecticut in 2017.

My academic research currently focuses on the concepts of desert and meritocracy, their connections to justice, education, and related areas in political philosophy, though I also have specializations in philosophy of language/linguistics. I currently teach courses on Human Rights, Political Philosophy, Introductory Logic, and Ethics. I have run the Badlands Politics and Philosophy Podcast since 2018.

(Pictured left: Wally, the mountain ranger cat.)

(Pictured Below: Mariposa Lily, a native wildflower in the Sierra Nevada which blooms on our property each May)

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Research and Writing

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Academic Publications

"Desert Is a Dyadic Relation" (2022), Analysis.

"Can Essentiality of Origin Save Meritocracy From The Luck Objection?" (2022), Philosophia 51 (2):883-895.

"Measurement and desert: Why grades cannot be deserved" (2021), Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (4): 282-292.

"How Important Are Truth-Conditions In Truth-Conditional Semantics?" (2019), Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (6): 541-575. 

"Why Truth-Conditional Semantics in Generative Linguistics is Still the Better Bet" (2017), Erkenntnis 82 (3): 673-692.

"Compositionality As Weak Supervenience" (2015), Synthese 192 (1): 201-220.

Works In Progress

  1. "Can Retributivism and Risk-Assessment be Reconciled?" with H. K. Gunn

  2. "Dignity or Desert? Rethinking the Desert of Jobs and Wages"

  3. "Meritocracy, Meritocratic Education, and Equality of Opportunity"



The Badlands Politics and Philosophy

I also run The Badlands Politics and Philosophy podcast. The Badlands aims to present, in a publicly accessible way, the philosophical dimensions of contemporary political issues, with a particular focus on progressive politics and issues. All Badlands related content can be found at (Twitter: @TheBadlandsPod).

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