Birmingham Fellow in Philosophy, University of Birmingham

I am primarily interested in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of cognitive science, and the overlap between this and areas that are normally thought of as distinct, such as biology.

One core interest is how we taxonomise reality. We come to the world with a set of concepts like 'cat', 'dog', 'fish' and so on, and we use these concepts to chunk up the world into different groups, which philosophers call kinds. I am interested in a variety of questions related to this:

How do we chunk up the world?
How should we chunk up the world?
How do our categorisation practices affect our theories?

With relation to this, my PhD was on attention, and the different ways psychologists think about attention, and what all this means for philosophy. I'm currently researching similar ideas as they apply to perception.

I am also interested in how all this works in the biology. For example I am fascinated by the fact that the concept of a 'species' is the most important concept in all of evolutionary biology, but there is zero agreement amongst biologists about how to define it, or what it might mean. One fun upshot of this is that the question of whether whales are fish turns out to be way more complicated than perhaps we may have thought!

Experience

  • –present
    Birmingham Fellow and Leverhulme Fellow, University of Birmingham

Education

  • 2015 
    University of Durham , Philosophy