Dissertation Abstract

I defended my dissertation, Animal Minds in Time, on April 29 2020.

Humans, octopuses, bees, scrub jays, and dogs have all been shown to have rich cognitive capacities, but their minds work very differently. What are the most important factors contributing to the kind of mind an animal has? I show that the ways in which an animal relates to time—its ways of representing the temporal and the nature of its memory—are crucial to the rest of its capacities. I develop empirically-informed philosophical accounts of the natures of episodic memory, and of the representation of temporal properties, temporal frameworks, and narratives. And I use these accounts to interpret the relevant empirical literature, and to show how these capacities can transform the extent to which animals can understand the complexity of the world.

My committee consisted of:

Christopher Peacocke (Philosophy, Columbia)

John Morrison (Philosophy, Columbia)

Jenann Ismael (Philosophy, Columbia)

Lila Davachi (Psychology & Neuroscience, Columbia)

Peter Godfrey-Smith (History & Philosophy of Science, Sydney)