As you interact with the environment (including your own body) you come to experience the stuff stimulating your sensory receptors. The stimuli show up in your phenomenal consciousness. Driven by the offline (re)activation of sensory neural circuits, roughly similar sorts of experiences arise in dreams, hallucinations, imagination, and memory. I’m interested in fundamental questions about these experience.
My work clusters into a number of overlapping themes and projects. These include:
- Could what it’s like for you to perceptually experience your environment really be duplicated in a dream, like Descartes thought? I’ve argued maybe not (forthcoming).
- Do dreams involve a feeling of presence, like normal waking perception, or are they more like imagination, which lacks that feeling? I’ve argued that it’s complicated.
- What, exactly, is the feeling of presence (characteristic of normal perception), vs the feeling of pastness (characteristic of memory)? How do these feelings differentiate waking perception, memory, imagination, and dreams?
- What is it that we experience when we hallucination and dream? I argue that, at least in some cases, we’re experiencing past-perceived objects.
- Is mental time travel real time travel? (yes)
- Does normal sensory perception itself ever involve experience of the past? (I think so.)
- Do you ever experience things not represented by your sensory neural activity? Is everything represented in conscious sensory neural activity experienced? (I argue not, for both cases.)
- How is it that perception makes objects available for thought? Against the dominant tradition, I don’t think it’s by providing information channels which feed mental files.
- Does phenomenal consciousness (i.e., experience) play a role in how perception makes objects available for thought? (Yes, but it’s complicated.)
- 2021. “What should the sensorimotor enactivist say about dreams?”, Philosophical Explorations (forthcoming)
- 2020. “Does what we dream feel present? Two varieties of presence and implications for measuring presence in VR”, Synthese | preprint
- 2020. “Some hallucinations are experiences of the past”, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly
- 2020. “Is mental time travel real time travel?”, w/ Melanie Rosen, Philosophy and the Mind Sciences
- 2019. “Are there epistemic conditions necessary for demonstrative thought?”, Synthese | preprint
- 2019. “The role of experience in demonstrative thought”, Mind & Language | preprint
- 2008. “An impromptu visit to Rien-à-Faire: A tribute to Bernard Suits”, w/ M. Andrew Holowchak, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport (Special issue introduction)
Selected slides, conference drafts, and other stuff
- 2021. “The nonimmersive feeling of pastness as the phenomenal manifestation of remembering”, Dreaming and Memory, a conference hosted jointly by the Philosophy of Neuroscience Group (Tübingen) and the Centre for Philosophy of Memory (Grenoble Alps) (slides)
- 2021. “Does what we dream feel present? Two varieties of presence”, APA Eastern meeting (slides)
- 2020. “Is mental time travel real time travel?” SSPP annual meeting (slides)
- 2020. “Bodily awareness for cyclists and other high-performance athletes: Phenomenology, neurobiology, and sonification”, slides
- 2019. Experiencing What’s Not There: A Workshop on Hallucinations, Dreams, Imagination, and Virtual Reality, program for a workshop I co-organized with Mohan Matthen
- 2019. “What should the externalist say is missing from dream experience?”, Dreams, Hallucinations and Imagination, a workshop by the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience at the University of Glasgow (workshop draft)
- 2019. “The role of visual representations in seeing”, APA Central meeting (conference draft)
- 2015. Perceptual Links: Attention, Experience, and Demonstrative Thought, PhD Dissertation
- 2014. “A user’s guide to epistemic modals”, APA Central meeting (conference draft)
- 2011. “The semantics of indicative mood modal constructions”, MA Thesis