RESEARCH

Areas of Specialization:  Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences 



I have an active research program in philosophy of mind and philosophy of the cognitive sciences.  I am interested in the nature of self-consciousness, social cognition and joint engagement.  My approach respects the history of philosophy, analysis of language, and interdisciplinary research in the cognitive sciences.

            My research is currently focused on the nature of self-consciousness. The account is: multi-level, functionalist, action-oriented, developmental (infant and evolution), and intersubjective.  I have focused on presenting an account of self-consciousness that respects the symmetry thesis, according to which awareness of oneself and awareness of others is reciprocal and mutually dependent.

Other than exploring self-consciousness, I have investigated recent debates about social cognition to develop an alternative to the theory-theory and the simulation theory. In one recent article, I outline an heterodox account of intersubjectivity that is embodied, second personal, directly perceptive, interactive, and mutually affective.  I am currently developing a non-cognitivist account of the recognition and acknowledgement of persons that articulates primitive forms of intersubjectivity involved in joint engagement. 

Another project is concerned with the phenomenology of expert bodily action in sports. Hubert Dreyfus has argued that flow experience—for instance, a quarterback like Eli Manning being “in the zone” while passing—  cannot involve reflection or self-awareness.  However, I argue that given that self-awareness is the ability to self-ascribe experiences, then a minimal dispositional form of reflection is involved in the content of expert bodily actions.  I am also interested in developing an account of the sense of agency by looking at forms of self-awareness in action across several phenomena—  anarchic hand and thought insertion— and considering whether self-consciousness is immune to error through misidentification. 

I am currently developing two book-length manuscripts:  one considers the relation between selves and others and provides a systematic defense of the symmetry thesis about the self-ascription and other-ascription and another articulates a multi-level account of the nature of self-consciousness.

I am also working on a proposal for an anthology on self-consciousness.  This anthology brings together for the first time essential historical essays (from Descartes to Merleau-Ponty) and contemporary accounts of self-consciousness, which will be sent to publishers in the spring of 2013.

I have other papers and projects on the horizon as well:

·      Against Neo-Expressivism about Self-Ascription

·      On the Function of Kant's Schemata

·      Self-Consciousness Ain’t in the Head: Externalism about Self-Identification

·      Sellars on the I-Think

·      Scientific Practice and Embodied Know-How

·      Directly Perceiving Selves and Others

·      Hume on the Contiguity of Self and World