skip to content

Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Teaching Associate in Philosophy of Science

I recently joined HPS after three years at the Faculty of Philosophy. Before that I held posts at the universities of Warwick, Manchester and Glasgow and studied at the universities of Sussex, York and Cambridge. My research covers a range of overlapping topics in philosophy of cognitive science, metaphysics, aesthetics and applied ethics. My introductory book What is Philosophy of Mind? is available from Polity Press. For HPS I'll be leading Part II modules on the Ethics and Politics of Technology; Ethical Issues in Psychiatry and the Philosophy of Cognitive Science. I'm also DoS in HPS at Selwyn College and College Research Associate at Clare College. I'm partial to comics, cats and a good pot of tea. To find out more about my work (including links to videos, podcasts and blogs) go to my personal webpage.


Research interests

I'm currently focussing on the concept of affordances for mental action. Long-standing work in philosophy and psychology suggests that we see our environment in terms of the bodily actions we can perform in it e.g. you might perceive a teapot as affording gripping. I suggest we also see our environment in terms of the mental actions available to us. That is, you might perceive affordances to attend, to imagine, to deliberate etc. I've been exploring how findings in psychology and psychiatry can be helpfully reframed in terms of mental affordances and identifying avenues for future empirical research.

I've also been exploring how social inequalities might shape our perception. With Paulina Sliwa I've been working on the hypothesis that gender inequalities in the performance of domestic tasks may be underwritten by socially-mediated differences in how affordances for domestic tasks are perceived. More generally, I'm interested in the idea that perceptual experiences (or patterns of perceptual experience) are ethically evaluable.

Other topics I've worked on include: the contents of perception; mental action; cognitive phenomenology; self-consciousness; self-hood; artificial consciousness and artificial creativity; the metaphysics of consciousness; salience and attention; the limits of scientific enquiry; pathologies of agency and ownership; and the philosophy of film.


Selected publications

Journal articles

Monographs, anthology contributions and edited collections

  • Intruders in the Mind: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Thought Insertion (co-edited with Pablo López Silva), edited collection under contract with OUP.
  • 'Four Impediments to the Case for Mineness', forthcoming in M. Guillot & M. García-Carpintero (eds.) Consciousness and the Sense of Mineness, Cambridge University Press.
  • What is Philosophy of Mind?, Polity Press, 2021.
  • 'Suffering and Affordances for Mental Action' in D. Bain, M. Brady & J. Corns (eds.) The Philosophy of Suffering, Routledge Press, 2020, pp. 37–54.
  • 'Self-Representationalism' in U. Kriegel (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness, Oxford University Press.
  • 'Film as Philosophical Thought Experiment: Some Challenges and Solutions' in C. Rawls, D. Neiva & S. Gouveia (eds.) Philosophy and Film: Bridging Divides, Routledge Press, 2019, 92–115.
  • 'The Knowledge Argument is Either Indefensible or Redundant' in S. Coleman (ed.) The Knowledge Argument, Cambridge University Press, 2019, pp. 180–197.
  • 'Consciousness and Inner Awareness' (co-edited with Jonathan Farrell), special issue of Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 8(1), 2017.

Other publications

  • Misembodied Experiences of Artificial Art, Proceedings of the ICCC'22 Workshop: The Role of Embodiment in the Perception of Human & Artificial Creativity (forthcoming).
  • 'AI and Affordances for Mental Action', Proceedings of the 10th AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy, 372–379, 2017. Open Access
  • 'Editorial: Consciousness and Inner Awareness' (co-authored with Jonathan Farrell), Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 8(1), 1–22, 2017 (Special Issue on Consciousness and Inner Awareness). Open Access
  • 'Ensemble Coding and Two Conceptions of Perceptual Sparsity' (co-authored with Tim Bayne), letter published in Trends in Cognitive Science, Vol. 20, No. 9, 641–642, 2016.
  • 'Receptivity and Phenomenal Self-Knowledge', Thought, Special Issue: Proceedings of the Northern Institute of Philosophy Early Career Conference, Vol. 2, No. 4, 293–302, 2013. Open Access
  • 'Consciousness, Ignorance and the Explanatory Gap', Philosophical Writings, Special Issue: Proceedings of the Fourteenth BPPA Conference, 45–57, 2011.
  • 'What is it like to be John Malkovich?', The Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2010. Open Access