Research

I’m currently working on three research projects.

Agency
I’m trying to develop an alternative to the traditional account of agency, which is the view that all actions are essentially brought about by the agent’s mental states. One influential version of this view holds that intentions bring about action. There are many reasons for being suspicious of this claim – some instances of behaviour are best classified as actions, but they are unintended. Moreover, the traditional view is at odds with what we know about the functioning of the brain. My model takes its inspiration from the work of Merleau-Ponty, but extends his ideas in what I hope are interesting ways. The result will be an empirically informed alternative to the traditional account of agency. I have started to explore some of these ideas in my most recent papers. This material will become a book in the relatively near future.

Pathology
Anyone who does phenomenology ends up dabbling in psychopathology, since the varieties of human experience shed light on one another. Merleau-Ponty often writes about psychopathology, and his Phenomenology of Perception contains some interesting analyses of schizophrenic experience. I am developing these ideas to try and account for some features of pathological experience that have been recently described in the literature. I am also interested in pathology more generally – an interest that grows out of my first year module on feminist philosophy.

Merleau-Ponty and the Sense of Space
I am a member of this interdisciplinary research group. You can read more about our activities .

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