My research focuses on consciousness, perception, colours (and other secondary qualities), concepts (or thinking abilities) and their acquisition, and cognitive development more generally. Here are some themes:
- I think the qualities encountered in perception and sensation ("Galilean qualities" as I like to call them) are not parts of consciousness and that that is important for our understanding of consciousness ("Colour and consciousness" 2007; "A somewhat eliminativist proposal about phenomenal consciousness" 2008; "Two types of qualia theory" 2014; and work in progress).
- I have traced some (unobvious) ways in which cognition is or may be independent of perception ("Lessons for Mary" 2004; "On imagism about phenomenal thought" 2011). But I think that there are some (also unobvious) ways in which cognition depends or can be based on perception ("Hume's missing shade of blue" (in Swedish] 2008; "Are sensory concepts learned by 'abstraction' from experience?" 2018; and work in progress).
- Much of my work hovers around the mind-body problem. I find this problem really hard, and I have yet to come down on either side of the dualism-physicalism divide. I somewhat incline to the latter, but I think physicalism is not easily defended, and not best defended by the "phenomenal concept strategy", or by any close relative of it ("Review of Papineau" 2006; "Is the mystery an illusion?" 2008; "How physicalist can—and cannot—explain the seeming 'absurdity' of physicalism" 2017; and work in progress).
- I think there is important truth in a classic, "descriptivist" idea that we can think about (many) things only "via their properties" (work in progress).
- There are many, very different "transparency-of-experience" theses, and it is important to keep them apart ("Two types of qualia theory" 2014; "What is the transparency of experience and what follows from it?"(in Swedish 2015), "Visual experience" forthcoming).
- I'm interested in arguments that assume some form of "common-factor view" about perception and concludes that what we experience, or directly experience, in perception is a narrow range of properties and nothing particular. I'm undecided about whether one should accept the premises and therefore the conclusions of these arguments, or reject the conclusions and therefore some premise. ("Visual experience" forthcoming; "On representationalism, common-factorism, and whether consciousness is here and now" 2018; and work in progress).
- Every third day I believe that all colours are visually complex ("Lessons for Mary" 2004; "Are colours visually complex?" 2013).Close