Hi! I'm Shane, a PhD candidate in Philosophy and Symbolic Systems at Stanford University. Before that, I studied Philosophy, Mathematics, and Computer Science at The Johns Hopkins University. I have also been a Visiting Student at the Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation and the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. During Summer 2016, I was a research software engineering intern in the Research and Machine Intelligence division of Google.

My research program addresses foundational questions about human compositional semantic abilities and their role in linguistic communication. A full understanding of these abilities requires investigation at multiple levels. At the level of our species: why are natural languages, but not animal communication systems, compositional? At the level of small conversations: how do words like ‘might’ and ‘must’ compose with others to allow us to express and coordinate complex properties of our mental states? At the level of an individual interpreter: how do the compositional operations posited by semantic theories interface with other, more general cognitive systems in the process of interpreting sentences? My advisor is Johan van Benthem; the rest of my dissertation committee consists of Thomas Icard, Chris Potts, and Brian Skyrms. You can find out more by looking at my CV or just scrolling down.

When I'm not working on those things, I like to climb rocks, lift weights, play disc sports, and drink and brew nice coffee.

You can reach me via snail or electronic mail:

450 Serra Mall, Bulding 90
Stanford, CA 94305

shanest AT stanford DOT edu


Journal Articles

Peter Hawke and Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Informational Dynamics of Epistemic Possibility Modals", Synthese, online first (DOI: 10.1007/s11229-016-1216-8)

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Compositional Signaling in a Complex World", Journal of Logic, Language, and Information, vol 25 no 3, pp. 379-397 (DOI: 10.1007/s10849-016-9236-9)

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Compositionality and Competition in Monkey Alert Calls", Theoretical Linguistics, vol 42 no 1-2, pp. 159-171 (DOI: 10.1515/tl-2016-0009)

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Some Properties of Iterated Languages", Journal of Logic, Language, and Information, vol 25 no 2, pp. 191-213 (DOI: 10.1007/s10849-016-9239-6)

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld and Thomas F. Icard, III., "Iterating semantic automata", Linguistics and Philosophy, vol 36 no 2, pp. 151-173 (DOI: 10.1007/s10988-013-9132-6)

Grigori Mints and Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "ADC Method of Proof Search in Intuitionistic Propositional Natural Deduction", Journal of Logic and Computation, vol 26 no 1, pp. 395-408 (DOI: 10.1093/logcom/ext032)

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Siamak Ardekani, Jose L.V. Mejino, Landon Todd Detwiler, James F. Brinkley, Michael Halle, Ron Kikinis, Raimond L. Winslow, Michael I. Miller, and J. Tilak Ratnanather, "Ontological Labels for Automated Location of Anatomical Shape Differences", Journal of Biomedical Informatics, vol 45 no 3, pp. 522-527 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jbi/2012.02.013)

Conference Proceedings

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Gert-Jan Munneke, and Jakub Szymanik, "Alternative Representations in Formal Semantics: A case study of quantifiers", Proceedings of the 20th Amsterdam Colloquium, eds. Thomas Brochhagen, Floris Roelofsen, and Nadine Thelier, pp. 368-379.

Peter Hawke and Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Informational Dynamics of `Might' Assertions", Proceedings of Logic, Rationality, and Interaction (LORI-V), eds. Wiebe van der Hoek, Wes Holliday, and Wen-fang Wang, pp. 143-155. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-48561-3_12)

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Learning to Use Function Words in Signaling Games", Proceedings of Information Dynamics in Artificial Societies (IDAS-14), eds. Emiliano Lorini and Laurent Perrussel.

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "On the Decidability of Iterated Languages", Proceedings of Philosophy, Mathematics, Linguistics: Aspects of Interaction (PhML2014), ed. Oleg Prosorov, pp. 215-224.

Jakub Szymanik, Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Marcin Zajenkowski, and Thomas F. Icard, III., "Automata and Complexity in Multiple-Quantifier Sentence Verification", Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (ICCM)

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Siamak Ardekani, Jose L.V. Mejino, Landon Todd Detwiler, James F. Brinkley, Michael Halle, Ron Kikinis, Raimond L. Winslow, Michael I. Miller, and J. Tilak Ratnanather, "Ontological Labels for Automated Location of Left-Ventricular Remodeling", Proceedings of 2011 Fifth IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing, pp. 572- 573 (DOI: 10.1109/ICSC.2011.99)

Encyclopedias, etc.

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Lambda Calculi", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Other Refereed Talks

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Gert-Jan Munneke, and Jakub Szynamik, "Alternative Representations in Proportional Quantifier Verification", at Workshop on Linguistic and Cognitive Aspects of Quantification

Peter Hawke and Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Epistemic Modality and the Dynamics of Discourse", at 2015 Berkley-Stanford-Davis Graduate Student Conference

Eric Acton, Daria Popova, and Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Quantifier Scope and Tensed Clauses", at 6th California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics Conference

Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, "Deflationism, Gaps, and Expressive Power", at 2013 Berkeley-Stanford-Davis Graduate Student Conference


Primary Instructor

Teaching Assistant

  • PHIL 99: Minds and Machines (Fall 2014) [also: SYMSYS 100, LINGUIST 144, PSYCH 35]
  • PHIL 152: Computability and Logic (Spring 2013)
  • PHIL 80: Mind, Matter, Meaning (Fall 2012)
  • PHIL 151: First-Order Logic (Winter 2012, Winter 2013)
  • MATH 107: Calculus II (Spring 2011, Johns Hopkins)
  • MATH 106: Calculus I (Fall 2010, Johns Hopkins)


Conference Organization

Program committee:

  • NASSLLI 2014 Student Session

Organizing committee:

  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd CSLI Workshop on Logic, Rationality, and Intelligent Interaction
  • 1st, 2nd Prometheus Undergraduate Philosophy Conference


  • Admit visit co-coordinator (2014-2015)
  • Graduate Student Faculty co-Representative (2013-2014)
  • Hume Society (graduate student) co-President (2012-2013)
  • Graduate co-Advisor to The Dualist (2012-2014)
  • Editor-in-Chief, Prometheus (2008-2011)


Expository Material

Erdös Number

My Erdös Number is 4, via at least three paths:

  • Grigori Mints - Yuri Matiyasevitch - Richard Guy - Paul Erdös
  • Michael I Miller - Ulf Grenander - Oved Shisha - Paul Erdös
  • Raimond L Winslow - Daniel Q. Naiman - János Pach - Paul Erdös