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 has been head preceptor for courses in the introductory sequence in analytic philosophy (Logic, Moral Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology). Cosim really enjoys talking philosophy, so you should drop him a line if something here piques your interest.

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 York College, where he was also Quantitative Reasoning Fellow in the Department of Math and Computer Science. In Cosim's philosophical salad days, he also taught in the Rutgers-Merck Summer Bioethics Institute at Rutgers-Newark (directed by Jeff Buechner) for college-bound urban youth in northern New Jersey.

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. A paper Cosim is working on now contains an argument that defamatory torts (libel, slander, false light) improve the quality of expressions about others' reputations via restricting it in defensible ways that improve individuals' well-being. 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, Cosim did research in biophysical chemistry.

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