Research

 UCD 2017. Photo: Michela Massimi.

UCD 2017. Photo: Michela Massimi.

My research concerns human representational behavior, especially in cognitive science. In a slogan, I work to expand the conceptual analyst’s toolkit. I develop tools to model the ways that we use concepts, and the ways our concept-use varies according to differences in our aims or background commitments. I focus mainly on human representations in science (generally) and cognitive science (in particular), but my work draws from and impinges on topics in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language.

I am currently developing analytical techniques that provide means for modeling embattled concepts in an analytically rigorous way. Ecumenical explication uses non-classical extensions to model embattled terms (i.e. when people disagree about how to use a word or concept). Modular ex­pli­cat­ion pro­vides a framework for re­imagining conceptual analyses as a basis for negotiat­ing meaning rather than attempting to settle verbal disputes outright. In coming years, I would like to extend my work on cognition to other scientific concepts like disease, gene, and natural selection, and to embattled social concepts like gender and disability.