Current research: Imagination, Mental Agency and Justification
Episodes of the imagination are mental states that cannot provide us with propositional justification for our first-order, empirical beliefs. By this I mean that whilst they might be good at telling us what a possible scenario might look like, or good at helping us to introspect, they cannot tell us how things are in the world, right now. Comparatively, perceptual experiences do an excellent job of this. Yet sometimes, perceptual experiences and imaginative episodes can subjectively feel rather alike. Both employ sensory imagery and hence their phenomenal characters can, on occasions, lie not so far apart.
What, then, if not their phenomenology, makes perceptual experiences better propositional justifiers? One candidate answer is that when we imagine, as opposed to when we have a perceptual experience, we have command over the content. Crudely, we get to decide what objects and properties we imagine. If this is the case in a perceptual experience, then something has gone wrong, and we should lose our reason for believing the content of that experience.
My job will be to test this thesis: Do we really have such agency over what we imagine? Correspondingly, are perceptual experiences always devoid of mental agency?
Here at Stockholm I am supervised primarily by Prof. Kathrin Glüer-Pagin, with Prof. Åsa Wikforss and Prof. Peter Pagin as secondary supervisors. For Autumn term 2017 I am supervised in Barcelona by Prof. Manuel Garcia-Carpintero. In 2019, when I visit Edinburgh, I will be supervised by Dr. Aidan McGlynn
My first three years as a doctoral student is generously funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network group. The philosophy department at Stockholm University will then pay for my fourth year.
I am an active member of CLLAM (a centre for logic, language and mind) based here in Stockholm, NorMind which connects researchers in the Philosophy of Mind (and related subjects) across the Nordic countries, and of course DIAPHORA.