I am a philosophy lecturer at the University of Auckland.
Prior to that, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, as part of the project New Directions in the Study of Mind (funded by the John Templeton Foundation, and led by Prof. Tim Crane).
I have also worked as a lecturer at the Open University, Lehigh University, and the University of Otago. My Ph.D, obtained in 2012, is from the University of Sydney.
My research, broadly speaking, lies at the intersection of philosophy of mind and cognitive science. At present, I am interested in what new ways of understanding the cognitive architecture of the mind might tell us about emotion. For example, are there evolved “modules”, which generate our emotional responses? If so, what does this hold for how emotions relate to practical rationality? Can such modules accommodate learning, and if so, can this help explain some of our pre-reflective social biases? I am also interested in other areas of philosophy of mind that are traditionally rooted in psychology. For instance, what is the nature of the unconscious mind? Are there top-down effects of cognition on perceptual experience?
I cut my philosophical teeth in Australia, both at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University, where I worked on issues in metaphysics and philosophy of language, as well as philosophy of mind. My doctoral dissertation, completed whilst visiting New York University, was on the “hard” problem of consciousness: the problem of explaining how and why physical processing gives rise to experiences with a phenomenal character. During this time, my interests lay in the philosophical methodology employed to investigate the mind, e.g. the Canberra Plan and Two-Dimensional Semantics, as well as the topic of phenomenal consciousness itself. My early articles defend a physicalist conception of the mind, and critique the conceptual and linguistic frameworks employed to argue against physicalism.