Research interests

My research concerns the metaphysics of perceptual experience, in particular focusing on:
  1. Perceptual appearances and representational content
  2. Multisensory perception and individuating the senses
  3. The spatial and temporal structure of perceptual experience.

All three of these themes were combined in my Synchronising the Senses project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation via the University of Cambridge’s New Directions in the Study of the Mind initiative.

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher on the Perceiving Representations project at the University of Oslo (2019–21), in which I am researching the implications of music and speech perception for the metaphysics and temporality of perceptual experience, and a collaborator on the Perceiving Properties project at the University of Oxford (2019–20).

In my PhD thesis, I argued that constraints upon our ability to recognise the contents of our experience rule out many apparently plausible accounts of experiential content and phenomenal character, i.e. what perceptual experience is subjectively like. I have co-edited a special issue of the journal Topoi on the subject of Perception Without Representation, and co-authored an Oxford Bibliographies entry on the senses (see below).

Other research interests include the philosophy of psychology and cognitive science, epistemology of perception, the metaphysics and consciousness of time and temporal passage (on which I wrote my MLitt dissertation), and the work of Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Thomas Reid, on whose account of visual perception I have published in The Philosophical Quarterly.


Articles and book chapters

Edited collections

Includes papers by Bill BrewerBerit BrogaardJérôme Dokic & Jean-Rémy MartinNaomi EilanIvan V. IvanovJ. A. JudgeM. G. F. MartinMichael O’SullivanCharles Travis, plus our introduction, which is freely available via open access.

Book reviews

Popular philosophy

    Work in progress

    I am currently working on a number of additional papers and projects, including:

    Does Property-Perception Entail Representational Content?

    Many philosophers take visual perceptual experience, whatever else it might involve, to be representational. That is, to experience the world as appearing or looking some way is to represent it as being some particular way. Such ‘ways of being’ may be captured in terms of the set of conditions that describes what it would be for the relevant experience to be accurate, or veridical; i.e. its content. According to Siegel (2010), proponents of both representational and relational views of experience are committed to the existence of such content in visual experience on the basis of visual phenomenology alone. In this paper, I argue that Siegel’s ‘Argument from Appearing’ relies upon an equivocation between the presentation of property-types in experience and the presentation of property-instances. Consequently, it is either invalid, or begs the question against the very view of experience it is designed to engage—namely, the relational view—and so should be rejected.

    presented a version of this paper at a workshop in Tübingen on Perception and Reasoning.

    The Auditory Field

    Visual experience is commonly characterised in terms of the presentation of a ‘visual field’, i.e. a spatially structured array of objects, properties or sensations. While the precise nature and geometry of this field are controversial, the existence of an analogous auditory field within which objects of auditory experience are presented is hotly disputed. Indeed, many theorists who accept the existence of the visual field reject the notion of an auditory field on the grounds of phenomenological dissimilarities between vision and audition. In this paper I examine whether scepticism about the auditory field is justified, and what, if anything, this tells us about the spatial structure or content of auditory experiences.

    Orthonasal and Retronasal Olfaction

    Philosophers have long debated how we should divide up, or individuate, the senses. Smell provides an interesting test case in that it (a) contrasts with vision, and (b) readily combines with other modalities, such as taste, touch, audition, to produce flavour experiences. In an influential paper, psychologist Paul Rozin (1982) claims that we have not one, but two, senses of smell in the form of ‘orthonasal’ and ‘retronasal’ olfaction. In this paper I consider whether to Rozin’s is best understood as making a claim about type- or token-senses, and to identify the philosophical and empirical grounds upon which we might judge whether humans have one, two, or more olfactory modalities.

    presented a version of this paper at the University of Edinburgh's PPIG seminar.