I'm a doctoral candidate in the philosophy department at University College London. My research focuses on current developments in philosophy, and on the history of twentieth century analytic philosophy. I also teach philosophy of psychology at Heythrop College London, co-organise London Aesthetics Forum, and am editor of the Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics. My research is supported by the UCL Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the British Society of Aesthetics.
Philosophers assume we have minds. Can we say anything general and interesting about the metaphysics of mind? Does 'mind' refer to an object or individual, to a process we engage in, or to a complex of dispositions that we have? And, I wonder, what kind of things are on, or 'in', our minds?
Freud was right, as it turns out. Psychoanalysis already changes the way we understand ourselves, but I consider how it could inform current disputes in the philosophy of psychology. Can we do or think something without noticing it? Do mental states have eventful histories? What is a dream?
Perceiving often is knowing. What is it to perceive? Is it a way our brains respond to external stimuli, or is it fundamentally a being related to objects, and if so what kind of objects? Sympathetic to naïve realism, I ask if and how thought is able to extend the range of things we can perceive.
What do we see when we look at a picture? It seems we use images to make people, situations or events visible in some way. Yet things in a picture don't always look how they would if you'd see them in real life. I consider the ways pictures relate to the visual appearance of the things they depict.
Instead of focusing on the character of our visual awareness of what pictures represent, I defend an understanding of pictorial representation starting from an account of visibility as such. Pictorial representation forces us to rethink the conditions of visibility. If pictures allow us visually to perceive their objects, then a pictorial representation of an object may be understood as on a par with the visual appearance of an object. This makes it possible that objects can be visible in virtue of having a visual representation as well.
‘Illusionism’ is the view that seeing-in,the kind of experience typical of looking at a picture, instantiates a non-veridical kind of seeming to see. Robert Hopkins argues that the illusionist definition implies a contradiction. Illusionists about pictorial experience should take this contradiction challenge seriously. But Hopkins’ formulation of the challenge is misleading. I this paper I present a more precise formulation of the contradiction challenge, and explain why illusionism as such does not fall prey to the challenge.
Our imagination can play tricks on us. Can we exploit this truism to cover cases of severe pathology? In this paper I argue that the experience of thought insertion—a symptom typical of schizophrenia, but perhaps not limited to it—could be so covered. I will first bring out how our ordinary psychology seems well-equipped to handle thoughts that aren’t thought by the subject who is aware of them. I will then show how we equally seem quite familiar with cases where thoughts we become aware of and that aren’t thought by us, are thought by someone else. If I am right, subjects could indeed come to have before their minds thoughts that are thought by someone else.
Can, within Kant’s framework, a judgment that an object is ugly be explained in terms of a disharmonious free play of imagination and understanding? In this paper I first propose how the general question of ugliness in Kant needs to be rephrased. I then discuss both Henry Allison’s defence of a disharmony as explanatory of pure judgments of ugliness, and Paul Guyer’s rejection of such a possibility. I argue that both authors only get things partly right. There can be a satisfactory Kantian aesthetics of the ugly, I conclude, and a disharmony of the faculties does help explain it. In this paper I provide important qualifications that help understand how Kant understood the ugly, and which role ugliness played in his thinking.