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Mental Action and Cognitive Phenomenology

Dr Tom McClelland (University of Warwick) holds a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to work on a research project entitled ‘Mental Action and Cognitive Phenomenology’.

Project Aims:

Cog Phen

Both philosophers and psychologists recognise that the way we process stimuli is dramatically influenced by the abilities we have to interact with those stimuli in certain ways. Our perception of a teapot, for example, is shaped by our capacity to grasp it by the handle. So far, research has focused on how mental processes are influenced by our ability to perform bodily actions such as gripping, kicking or eating. The aim of the project is to extend this research programme to cover mental actions such as attending, counting or deciding.

Specific aims of the project include:

* Developing a viable notion of ‘mental affordances’.

* Establishing how mental affordances resemble and differ from affordances for bodily action.

* Deploying the notion of mental affordances to shed light on issues in cognitive phenomenology including the phenomenology of following a rule, and the phenomenology of expert performance in a cognitive task.

The project hosted a conference in 2019. Anyone with an interest in the project is warmly invited to contact Tom McClelland. This project was supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship.