I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia's Corcoran Department of Philosophy, where I work in the philosophy of cognitive science.
Specifically, my recent work has helped to develop a nascent field of study: the philosophy of mind-wandering. Mind-wandering occupies up to half of our waking thoughts and has emerged as a leading topic in cognitive science. Surprisingly, philosophers have only just begun to take up the wandering mind as an object of serious philosophical scrutiny. I propose a new theory of mind-wandering as unguided attention. I then examine more general philosophical topics – including mental action, conscious attention, and thinking – through the lens of mind-wandering. My empirical collaborations with cognitive scientists extend this project, proposing philosophical foundations for the cognitive science of mind-wandering and exploring the wandering mind’s philosophical significance for imagination, rationality, and the nature of cognition in childhood.
My work on mind-wandering is connected with a broader interest in epistemology (especially formal epistemology), action theory, and the philosophy of science. Specifically, I attempt to reconcile the contingent nature of human psychology with norms of belief and action. My papers on this topic engage with the epistemology of disagreement, the epistemic status of scientific visual representations, and the rationality of risk aversion (see research).
Before coming to UVA, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley under Alison Gopnik and UBC's Kalina Christoff. I received my PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 2015, where my PhD supervisors were Diana Raffman and Evan Thompson, and my readers were Ronnie DeSousa, Jennifer Nagel, and Andrew Sepielli.