BARRY C SMITH, DIRECTOR
Professor Barry C. Smith from the School of Philosophy at Birkbeck has been Director of the Institute since September 2008. His main work is in the philosophy of language and mind; he is particularly interested in knowledge of language and its relation to other aspects of the mind. He has also published on the emotions, the perception of taste and on self-knowledge. In November 2012, Barry was appointed AHRC Leadership Fellow for the Science in Culture Theme. As part of this role he will provide intellectual and strategic leadership for the further development of the Science in Culture Theme and work closely with senior AHRC Programmes staff to develop partnerships within and beyond academia. Visit the Science in Culture website.
OPHELIA DEROY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
Dr Ophelia Deroy's work is in philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience. It focuses on the varieties of ways in which our senses interact and shape our conscious experience. In addition to being Associate Director of the Institute of Philosophy, Ophelia is Senior Researcher for the Centre for the Study of the Senses. CenSes is an interdisciplinary research centre, bringing together philosophers of mind and perception, experimental psychologists and neuroscientists. Ophelia is Co-investigator on the 'Rethinking the Senses' project. This £2million grant was awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Science in Culture programme. Visit Ophelia's website.
COLIN BLAKEMORE, DIRECTOR OF CENSES
Professor Sir Blakemore was appointed Director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the Institute in October 2012. He is a renowned vision scientist and one of Britain’s leading scientists, who speaks and advises on a number of public issues, including chairing the Royal Society’s recent Brain Waves project, reviewing the policy implications of developments in neuroscience, including a report on Neuroscience and the Law. Colin Blakemore is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was a previous head of the Medical Research Council. He has been a Reith Lecturer and given the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. He has been honoured by many countries, including India and China, and has ten honorary degrees. Colin is Principle investigator on the 'Rethinking the Senses' project. This £2million grant was awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Science in Culture programme.
VITTORIO GALLESE, PROFESSOR OF EXPERIMENTAL AESTHETICS
Vittorio Gallese, MD and trained neurologist, is Professor in Experimental Aesthetics at the Institute of Philosophy since January 2016. He is Professor of Physiology at the Dept. of Neuroscience of the University of Parma, Italy, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Dept. of Art History and Archeology of Columbia University, New York, and Einstein Fellow at the Berlin School of Mind & Brain of Humboldt University for 2016-2018. He is the coordinator of the PhD Program in Neuroscience and Director of the Doctoral School of Medicine of the University of Parma. Cognitive neuroscientist, his main research interests are on the neurobiological basis of intersubjectivity, empathy, aesthetics and language.
PATRICK HAGGARD, VISITING PROFESSOR OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE
Professor Patrick Haggard currenlty holds a visiting professorship at the IP while on seconment from the Institute of Cognative Neuroscience, UCL. Patrick's research has two major research themes. The first is the cognitive neuroscience of voluntary action. Experiments in this theme attempt to link the subjective experience of intending and performing manual actions to the brain processes that occur before and after actual movement. The second research theme is the representation of one's own body. How does the brain create and maintain a represention of one's own body as a physical object? How is this representation influenced by current sensory inputs, such as touch and pain? How do such body representations contribute to a sense of self? Patrick addresses these questions both in perceptual experiments, and in measures of brain activity elicited when subjects refer to a cognitive representation of the body. Visit Patrick's website
STEPHEN NEALE, PROFESSOR OF LANGUAGE AND LAW
Stephen Neale is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics and holder of the John H. Kornblith Family Chair in the Philosophy of Science and Values at the Graduate Centre, City University New York (CUNY). His main research interests are in Philosophy of Language and the interface between Philosophy of Language and Linguistics, but he has also written on philosophy of mind, cognitive science, logic and truth.
CHRIS FRITH, HONORARY RESEARCH FELLOW
Although Chris retired from his position at the Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL in 2007, He is continuing with his studies of Interacting Minds. This discipline concerns the neural basis of social interaction. In particular, he has been trying to delineate the mechanisms underlying the human ability to share representations of the world, for it is this ability that makes communication possible and allows us to achieve more than we could as individuals. He is fortunate in having a number of excellent collaborators for this enterprise, in particular, Uta Frith. Initially his main experimental work on this topic was performed in the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University, with Andreas Roepstorff, where new paradigms were developed for testing people in groups. In October 2011 He was elected a two-year fellow of All-Souls where he organised a series of seminars on meta-cognition in order to explore the critical role of this process in sharing experiences. Since 2014 his studies are mostly conducted at the Institute of Philosophy where he is contrasting conscious and unconscious cognitive processes and exploring how instructions work. Chris is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the British Academy. In 2014 Chris & Uta Frith were awarded the Jean Nicod prize for their work on social cognition.
CHRISTOPHER PEACOCKE, HONORARY RESEARCH FELLOW
Professor Peacocke was Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy in the University of Oxford, and held a Leverhulme Personal Research Professorship. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at Berkeley, NYU and UCLA, and has been a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford. He was President of the Mind Association in 1986-7. In 2001, he delivered the Whitehead lectures at Harvard University, and in 2003 he gave the Immanuel Kant Lectures at Stanford. His books include Sense and Content (Oxford, 1983), Thoughts: An Essay on Content (Blackwell, 1986) and A Study of Concepts (MIT, 1992). In 2010 he gave the Evans Memorial Lecture at Oxford, and the 'Context and Content' Lectures at the Jean Nicod Institute, in the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. He delivered the Kohut Lectures at the University of Chicago in 2011, under the title 'Subjects, Consciousness and Self-Consciousness'. In Columbia, he has taught for the Core Curriculum, in Music Humanities. In 2011-13, he served as Chair of the Promotions and Tenure Committee in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He is currently Chair of the Philosophy Department.
NICHOLAS SHEA, PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY
Professor Nicholas Shea is an interdisciplinary philosopher of mind, and of psychology, cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. He has previously collaborated with the Institute on his AHRC fellowship project ‘Meaning for the Brain, Meaning for the Person’ which saw him work closely with the Institute’s Honorary Research Fellow, Prof Chris Frith
More recently Prof Shea has been awarded a 5 year, €1.9 million European Research Council Consolidator grant for his project ‘Metacognition of Concepts’ This project will investigate the thoughts and feelings that accompany the use of concepts. It will be hosted at the Institute of Philosophy and will include interdisciplinary collaborative partnerships with Oxford University and City University, University of London.
Professor Shea joins the Institute from King’s College London and specialises in the interdisciplinary study of philosophy of mind, psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
VINCENT HAYWARD - LEVERHULME VISITING PROFESSOR
Professor Vincent Hayward will join the Institute in January 2017 as Leverhulme Visiting Professor.
YUANYUAN ZHAO, POST DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW - CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF THE SENSES
Dr Yuanyuan Zhao has a PhD in psychology from the University of Birmingham. Her background is in visual cognition and perception by using experimental and modelling methods. She works as a postdoc with Professor Sir Colin Blakemore in the Centre for the Study of the Senses 2014-2017. She continually works in vision perception as well as bringing together vision and other sensory modalities. She is investigating in the certainty of perceptual distinction between modalities, such as vision and hearing. She is also interested in the mechanism of 3D perception from visual cues, as well as the interaction from tactile information.
MERLE FAIRHURST, POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW - AHRC RETHINKING THE SENSES PROJECT
Merle's research has focused on how sensory information is modulated, integrated and perceived. She is specifically interested in attentional mechanisms that facilitate streaming and "tuning" of perceived events (tuning the pain experience by anticipation, streaming of self and other relevant streams). Sensory perception in social instances (e.g. joint action tasks) seems to require higher order processing of more basic sensory signals and as such some of her studies have explored more interactive scenarios. Her current post at the Centre for the Senses (Censes) allows her to bring her expertise in cognitive neuroscience and specifically neuroimaging to collaborative studies of uni- and multimodal sensory processing working with philosophers and artists.
EOIN TRAVERS - POST DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW - AHRC MEANING FOR THE BRAIN, MEANING FOR THE PERSON PROJECT
Eoin is currently a post-doc working with Nicholas Shea and Chris Frith in the Institute of Philosophy. The project involves exploring the relationship between how the brain processes information and constructs meaning at the "personal" and "subpersonal" levels. Right now, he's looking at the role that conscious awareness plays in our ability to learn about and make sense of the world around us.
Eoin was previously a PhD student with the School of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast, working with Aidan Feeney and Jonathan Rolison on the temporal dynamics of reasoning.
Eoin is also interested in how conflict arises and is resolved in cognition, the role of different kinds of knowledge in reasoning, Bayesian accounts of perception and cognition, and dynamical systems theory.
RICHARD SOMERVILLE, INSTITUTE AND EVENTS ADMINISTRATOR
VARSHA TAILOR, PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR - AHRC RETHINKING THE SENSES PROJECT
NISHA PATEL, PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR - AHRC SCIENCE IN CULTURE THEME