From 2012 I have been based in London. My primary intellectual home these days is Department of Philosophy, University College London. I also spend much time at the Action and Body Lab, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, at the same school. From 2013 to 2016 I was a research assistant of Rethinking the Senses project, hosted by CenSes, Institute of Philosophy. During the same period I was also part-time at Department of Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London. Before arriving London, I spent two years at Department of Philosophy, City University of New York, Graduate Center. Over the years I have also visited University of California, Berkeley, Duke University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and Institute Jean Nicod. The abstract of my dissertation Sense, Space, and Self is as follows: Object cognition is a basic capacity shared by many creatures in the animal kingdom. Self-consciousness or self-awareness, by contrast, seems to be a rather advanced capacity that is enjoyed only by relatively fewer beings. It might thereby be assumed that many creatures can have the capacity for object cognition without any interesting capacity for self-awareness. In this essay, I argue that a certain capacity for object cognition – cognition with the engaged stance – requires the capacity for awareness of oneself as a physical object in an objective world. I further argue that some animals in the actual world do have the kind of capacity for object cognition in question. These two theses together yield the conclusion that those animals – such as human infants and some other non-linguistic mammals – actually have the capacity for awareness of oneself as a physical object in an objective world, contrary to appearance. I call this two-premiss argument the Object Cognition Argument, mirroring Quassim Cassam’s Objectivity Argument (1997). The essay is entitled Sense, Space, and Self. Sense, because object cognition involves perception of objects. For our purposes I primarily focus on sight and touch, but briefly discuss others in due course. Space, because in order to bridge the capacity for object cognition and the capacity for self-awareness, two kinds of spatial representation will be invoked: namely allocentric space, which is more to do with sight; and the constraint of solidity, which is more to do with touch. Self, not only because a kind of self-awareness is at stake, but also because the materials developed in the essay might have some significant implications concerning the nature of the self and personal identity. Chapter 1 “Objectives” lays out the philosophical background and aims. Chapter 2 “Objects” discusses two capacities that underlie object cognition: object permanence, the understanding that things can persist when being occluded; and the constraint of solidity, the understanding that solid objects do not collocate in space at the same time. Chapter 3 “Objectivity” starts with object permanence and argues that it requires allocentric spatial representations, which further require awareness of oneself as a denizen of an objective world. Chapter 4 “Objecthood” starts with the constraint of solidity and argues that it requires representations of primary qualities that further require awareness of oneself as a physical object. Chapter 5 “Objections” modifies the Object Cognition Argument in light of three prominent objections: the Body Blindness, the Qua Subject, and the Missing Self Problems.
During different periods of 2019 I am/have been visiting 1) Institut Jean Nicod, École Normale Supérieure, 2) Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge, and 3) Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, London. These visitings are partially funded by Royal Institute of Philosophy. I am also a steering committee member of iCog (2016-)
I was a SSNaP fellow at Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (2017-8), a philosopher-in-residence of UCL Action and Body Lab at Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (2015-9), a recognised student at Department of Philosophy, University of Oxford (2018), and a PhD student at UCL Department of Philosophy (2015-8).
I primarily work on the subjective, the objective, and the relation between them. My entry points are the senses and consciousness, as they mediate varieties of minds and the world. The general framework is Oxford Kantianism, initiated by P. F. Strawson and Gareth Evans, and was later taken up by John McDowell, Quassim Cassam, Naomi Eilan, and Anil Gomes, amongst others. What's distinctive about my approach is that I incorporate resources from phenomenology and cognitive sciences into this Kantian framework.
Sample Publications (More in MY WORK):
John McDowell on Worldly Subjectivity: Oxford Kantianism Meets Phenomenology and Cognitive Sciences (forthcoming), London: Bloomsbury Academic
Spatial Senses: Philosophy of Perception in an Age of Science (first editor, with O. Deroy and C. Spence, forthcoming), New York: Routledge
"Post-Perceptual Confidence and Supervaluative Matching Profile" (2019), Inquiry
"Quine’s Naturalism and Behaviorisms" (2018), Metaphilosophy 49(4)
"A Mechanism for Spatial Perception on Human Skin" (with F. Fardo, B. Beck, and P. Haggard, 2018), Cognition 178
"The Recurrent Model of Bodily Spatial Phenomenology" (first author, with P. Haggard, 2018), Journal of Consciousness Studies 25(3-4)
"Spatial Perception and the Sense of Touch" (with P. Haggard, B. Beck, and F. Fardo, 2017). In: de Vignemont, F. and Alsmith, A. (eds.) The Subject's Matter: Self-Consciousness and the Body. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
"The Sceptical Paradox and the Nature of the Self" (2016), Philosophical Investigations 39(1)
"The Trajectory of Self" (with T. Lane, N. Duncan, and G. Northoff, 2016), Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20(7)
"Book Review: Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness" (2016), Philosophical Psychology 29(4)
“Obstacles to Testing Molyneux’s Question Empirically" (2015), i-Perception 6(4)
"Book Review: The First Sense" (2015), Frontiers in Psychology 6
I like to collaborate with people; these days there are joint projects with Paul Snowdon, Patrick Haggard, John Schwenkler, Ophelia Deroy, Charles Spence, Timothy Lane, Georg Northoff, and Marisa Carrasco. I also like to host events, also with others; here are some examples: M. G. F. Martin's farewell event at UCL (2019); Self and World, 20 years on (2017); Spatial Experience (2017); Sense and Space (iCog, 2016); Objectivity, Space, and Mind (BPPA Masterclass, 2015).