In my book The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, Evidence (OUP 2018), I develop an integrated account of the phenomenological and epistemological role of perceptual experience. One of the key ideas is that perceptual experience is constitutively a matter of employing perceptual capacities. Perceptual content, consciousness, and evidence are each explained in terms of this key idea.

In epistemology, I have developed a new account of the epistemic force of experience. I argue that sensory states provide perceptual evidence due to their metaphysical structure: Sensory states are yielded by employing perceptual capacities that function to single out particulars in our environment. So there is primacy of the employment of perceptual capacities in perception over their employment in hallucination and illusion. Due to this primacy, sensory states provide us with evidence. This view of evidence is externalist while avoiding the pitfalls of reliabilist accounts. Moreover, it provides for an evidential answer to how and why we are in a better epistemic position when we perceive than when we hallucinate (see my 2013 paper in Mind and my 2014 and 2015 papers in Philosophical Studies).

In philosophy of mind, I have defended the idea that experience is representational and developed a detailed account of the nature of perceptual content that advances a new way of understanding singular modes of presentations. I argue that experience is fundamentally both relational and representational (see my 2010 paper in Philosophical Studies and my 2011 paper in Noûs). This view of content has interesting implications for the sensory character of experience. It provides for a way of understanding perceptual consciousness in terms of a mental activity, more specifically, in terms of employing perceptual capacities (see my 2011 paper in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research).  The idea is that in hallucination, we employ the very same perceptual capacities that in a subjectively indistinguishable perceptual experience are employed as a consequence of being related to external, mind-independent objects or property-instances. Employing perceptual capacities yields a mental state with content. This representational account of sensory character is an alternative to the orthodox approach on which sensory character is analyzed in terms of awareness relations to abstract entities, such as properties, sense-data, or other peculiar entities. By arguing that we employ the very same perceptual capacities in subjectively indistinguishable perceptions, hallucinations, and illusions, I provide a substantive way of understanding the common factor between these experiences.

Another focus of my research has been space perception and the situation-dependency of perception (see my 2007 in Mind and my 2008 paper in Journal of Philosophy), as well as the nature of imagination (see my 2013 paper in Journal of Philosophy).

Selected Publications:

The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, Evidence. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018.

“Perceptual Consciousness as a Mental Activity”, Noûs.

“Perceptual Particularity”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 93 (1), June 2016, pp. 25-54.

“Phenomenal Evidence and Factive Evidence”, Symposium with comments by Matt McGrath, Ram Neta, and Adam Pautz, Philosophical Studies, 173 (4), April 2016, pp. 875-896. (invited)

“Phenomenal Evidence and Factive Evidence Defended: Replies to McGrath, Neta, and Pautz”, Philosophical Studies, 173 (4), April 2016, pp.929-946. (invited)

“The Epistemic Force of Perceptual Experience”. With a response by Alex Byrne, Philosophical Studies, 170 (1), 2014, pp. 87-100. (invited)

Belief and Desire in Imagination and Immersion”, Journal of Philosophy, 110 (9), Sept. 2013, pp. 497-517.

Experience and Evidence”, Mind, 122 (487), July 2013, pp. 699-747.

"Perceptual Content Defended", Noûs, 45 (4), Dec. 2011, pp. 714-50.

"Ontological Minimalism about Phenomenology", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 83 (1), July 2011, pp. 1-40.

"The Situation-Dependency of Perception", Journal of Philosophy, 105 (2), Feb. 2008, pp. 55-84.

"Action and Self-Location in Perception", Mind, 116 (463), July 2007, pp. 603-32.

Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science

Rutgers University

Secondary Appointment:

Executive Council Faculty

Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS)

Visiting Position:

Visiting Professor

Department of Philosophy

University of Tübingen

Summer 2016-18

My work focuses on a range of topics in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and language, including perception, mental representation, consciousness, evidence, knowledge, capacities, imagination, and biased algorithms.