COSIM SAYID

Above: (Wide) Reflective Equilibrium.

Below: Lecturing in Introduction to Moral Philosophy at Princeton in 50 McCosh Hall.

Cosim Sayid is Lecturer in Philosophy at Princeton University, where he's head preceptor for Introductory Logic; he was previously head preceptor for Princeton's intro courses to moral philosophy as well as metaphysics and epistemology.

Cosim earned his PhD in Philosophy in September 2019 from the City University of New York. Cosim's dissertation -- Intention and Interpretation in Law -- supervised by Stephen Neale (with Noël Carroll, Michael Devitt, and Jeremy Waldron), was on interpretation and meaning in legal contexts. As a grad student, Cosim gave instruction in Cultural Diversity, Philosophy, and Political Science at CUNY York College, where he was also Quantitative Reasoning Fellow in the Department of Math and Computer Science.

Cosim wrote a piece about knowledge-norms and the mere likelihood evidentiary standard that's applicable in most common-law civil matters; it's now published. Cosim recently completed a paper on lying, which elucidates its underlying communicative nature. Cosim is currently writing a(nother) piece to do with legal epistemology, on the purported problem of naked statistical evidence in the law, where he argues that radically revisionary accounts of legal evidence and decision-making are uncalled for. A paper Cosim is working on contains an argument that defamation-torts enhance free speech, which operates via improving the quality of free speech while reducing its aggregate quantity. Also in the paper-pipeline are papers on legal texts as propositional blueprints, and another to better explicate the the conservative virtue of adhering to precedent that's judicially manifested via stare decisis doctrine. Cosim is also working on refining his account of creative interpretation in both art and the law. Details under Cosim's papers.

Cosim's dissertation used a Gricean theory of communication to constitutively explain the basis of duties, immunities, powers, privileges, and rights -- the legal profile -- possessed by actors within a legal system in virtue of their legally authoritative communicative intentions and relations. This allowed Cosim to speak clearly to what's communicated between legal agents and how to interpret that content using available evidence. That account was then applied to statutory interpretation and contract law. Using the notion of creative interpretation, which Cosim developed by analogy with some species of literary and musical interpretation, Cosim discussed how the law, using new conceptual resources, creates new authoritative interpretations to flesh out previously confused or inchoate content. This study allows us to go, in a limited sense Cosim described, beyond what legal actors actually communicated via their speech-acts, while carefully maintaining an epistemically objective inquiry in which there are boundary conditions on the output of creative interpretation. Cosim applied that project of creative interpretation to the idea of reasonable doubt in criminal law, and actual malice in defamation law. Creative interpretation can also be used to address vague or borderline cases. Cosim concluded by suggesting avenues for future work in administrative, and constitutional, law.

Before coming to philosophy, Cosim worked as a lawyer (mostly handling litigation in real estate and securities, though he did a variety of pro bono work from helping indigent couples divorce relatively amicably to working on the case (eventually settled) against monopoly telecom providers for New York correctional facilities that charged over 600% the usual rate for collect calls). As an undergrad, he did research in biophysical chemistry.

(Cosim usually doesn't refer to himself in the third-person.)