Copyright (c) 2006 ArtLex - with permission

Research Interests

I have just completed a paper Sensorimotor Direct Realism: How We Enact Our World, arguing that the sensorimotor theory of perception and a broadly McDowellian disjunctive direct realism are very well-matched. This was published as a target article in a special issue of the journal Constructivist Foundations, titled Exploring the Diversity within Enactivism and Neurophenomenology, and edited by Tom Froese, Sebastjan Vörös & Alexander Riegler. This paper further develops themes started in my 2013 paper Phenomenology and Embodied Action.

During 2013-2014 I was a postdoctoral researcher in the European FP7 eSMCs project (comprising six labs in Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). The aim of the project was to extend Noë and O'Regan's Sensori-Motor Contingency theory, both philosophically and practically (e.g. in terms of robot architecture and therapeutic applications). I was a member of the 'Theoretical Foundations' group, led by Ezequiel Di Paolo, and based at EPV/EHU. At completion, the project was rated "Excellent progress (the project has fully achieved its objectives and technical goals for the period and has even exceeded expectations)" by the EU project reviewers, with praise for the work of every group, separately, and for the integration and collaboration between groups.

Immediately after completing my thesis, I worked as a postdoc for Professor Igor Aleksander of Imperial College London on an externalist critique of Tononi's Information Integration Theory of Consciousness. This project enabled me to look in more detail both at Integrated Information theory, and at fundamental issues in the interpretation of probability theory.

In 2009 I was awarded my DPhil (PhD) in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science by the University of Sussex. My external examiner was the philosopher Alva Noë, and my internal examiner was the psychologist Zoltan Dienes.

In my thesis, I argued that qualia can be successfully naturalised as subjective, introspectible aspects of mind, with mind analysed in terms of embodied practical rationality.

My doctoral work had three major strands of influence.

The first was Alva Noë and J. Kevin O'Regan's sensorimotor analysis of the nature of perception. I was exposed to this work so early in my PhD research that it is present more as background than as foreground. In more recent work, I'm am trying to bring the connections more to the foreground. But I hope and think that everything I say, including my strong emphasis on rationality, and my endorsement of a version of direct realism, is compatible with the sensorimotor approach.

More overtly present in my thesis, because discovered later on, are McDowell’s conceptualism and direct realism, and Shoemaker’s seminal work on the nature of introspection (though I do believe - and argued in my thesis - that Shoemaker’s current and prior accounts of qualia are not right, and indeed are not truly compatible with his own account of introspection).

Contact | Research | Publications | Teaching | CV | Links

Updated 18th May, 2016