A very warm welcome to Sam Wilkinson, who joins us this month as Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Philosophy. We’re delighted to be working with someone with such an interesting background in philosophy and cognitive science. Here’s how Sam describes his interests in and hopes for the project:
‘My PhD, at the University of Edinburgh, looked at delusions caused by brain damage and how they highlight certain inadequacies in current philosophical views of belief. I am currently interested in the relationship between experience and judgment, and voice-hearing is a perfect phenomenon for examining that. The standard view of hallucinations (which usually takes visual hallucination as its paradigm) claims that they are experiences that present the subject with an inaccurate representation of the world, namely, they represent something that is absent. The subject, faced with this experience, can then either believe what her experience is telling her, or over-ride it by drawing on evidence that suggests that the experience is not to be trusted. Cases of AVH show that this picture is hugely oversimplified. AVHs arise as part of a more general phenomenological change that goes way beyond the representational content of the experience. In light of this, there are two things that I am currently examining. I am looking, first, at how this improved view of AVH, which draws on feelings of anticipation and anxiety, is supported by the recent “Predictive Coding” paradigm in computational neuroscience; second, at what this overall picture tells us about the phenomenon of psychiatric insight.’
This month we also say goodbye to Joel Krueger, who moves to a lectureship at the University of Exeter. We have loved working with Joel and wish him all the best in his new post. We will be continuing to collaborate with him on various HtV projects.