My academic work (research and teaching in universities) covers an eclectic mix of interrelated topics and questions. I mostly focus on the nature of experience (phenomenal consciousness) and how it relates to neural activity in the head. I explore not only perceptual experience, but also experience in dreams, hallucination, and memory.
- 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.
- 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? (I argue you do.) Is everything represented in conscious sensory neural activity experienced? (I argue not.)
- 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.)
- 202x. “What blindsight means for the neural correlates of consciousness”, Journal of Consciousness Studies (forthcoming)
- 2021. “What makes a mental state feel like a memory: Feelings of pastness and presence”, w/ Melanie Rosen, Estudios de Filosofía
- 2021. “Are there epistemic conditions necessary for demonstrative thought?”, Synthese | preprint
- 2021. “What should the sensorimotor enactivist say about dreams?”, Philosophical Explorations | preprint
- 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. “The role of experience in demonstrative thought”, Mind & Language | preprint
- 2015. Perceptual Links: Attention, Experience, and Demonstrative Thought, PhD Dissertation
- 2011. “The semantics of indicative mood modal constructions”, MA Thesis
- 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)
I’ve taught philosophy at wide range of schools, including community colleges, a regional state school, a SLAC, a large public research university, and a small elite university. I most recently taught in the winter 2021 term at York University (in Toronto). Here’s a list, organized by the last time I taught the course and where.
- Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, York University (Cogs/Phil 3750, winter 2021) | syllabus
- Minds, Brains, and Machines, York University (Cogs/Phil 2160, fall 2020)
- Philosophy of Psychology, York University (Phil 3260, fall 2020)
- The Examined Life, Lebanon Valley College (Phl 110, spring 2018)
- American Philosophy: Pragmatism, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania (Phi 280, spring 2017)
- Topics in Moral Theory: Virtue Ethics, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania (Phi 235, fall 2016)
- Introduction to Philosophy, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania (Phi 030, fall 2017)
- Objectivity in Perception, Rice University (Fwis 129, spring 2015)
- Introduction to Logic, Rice University (Phil 106, summer 2014)
- Introduction to Ethics, Lone Star College (Phil 2306, fall 2011)