My main interests are in philosophy of cognitive science and psychology, philosophy of neuroscience, and philosophy of science (particularly philosophy of biology). I studied for my masters in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and got my PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. From 2011-2013 I was a post-doc in Philosophy of Neuroscience at the University of Tuebingen, at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN). From 2013-2014 I was a post-doc at ANU working on the evolution of language on Kim Sterelny’s ‘Signs to Symbols’ project. I joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Cardiff as a lecturer in September 2014.
I started by working on various aspects of methodology in consciousness science, coming to an eliminativist conclusion about the concept of consciousness in scientific research. This was the topic of my PhD thesis, and was published as a book in 2012 (see here). I’m still doing some work in this area, mainly on methodological problems related to introspection.
I’m also interested in modelling and simulation methods in cognitive science and biology, particularly at the roles of robustness and computational templates in modelling strategies and explanatory practices. I co-won the 2016 Karl Popper prize for my paper ‘Model-based theorising in cognitive neuroscience’.
My main project at the minute is on the evolution (origins) of language. I’ve challenged assumptions about the role of iconicity and gesture in the evolution of (proto)-language by drawing on developmental and comparative evidence and what it takes to be a ‘symbol user’. I’m doing some experimental work on the role of deictic gestures (e.g. pointing) in language evolution (on Minecraft!). I’m also looking at more conceptual questions about the code or non-code like nature of language, pragmatics and meaning, level of co-operation in communication, and how this ties into claims about requirements for mind-reading in language use. Related to this interest, I’m a member of the University of Cardiff Language and Cognition Research Network (here).