Henry Taylor

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

I’m particularly interested in:

  • Consciousness (How does consciousness fit into the physical world? How should we study consciousness in nonhuman animals and infants?)
  • Perception (What is the best way to understand how we perceive the world? Does perception require consciousness?)
  • Attention (What is attention? Can we understand consciousness by using attention? Is attention ‘one thing’ or is it actually many different mental faculties?)
  • Natural kinds in cognitive science (How should we understand the categories employed by cognitive science? How do they contribute to scientific success?)

I’m currently writing a monograph on natural kinds in psychology due out by 2023. This will draw together my previous work on attention, consciousness, and perception, which can be found under ‘publications’, below.

Another strand on my research concerns peripheral vision: how we should understand our visual capacities outside of the centre of our visual field. This work has focussed on crowding, which is a puzzling phenomenon where objects placed in peripheral vision become harder to identify when they’re placed near other objects.

As well as my work on the interface of philosophy and science, I have also done a lot of work on the metaphysics of properties. Objects in the world have certain properties (for example, a ball may have properties such as redness and sphericity), but how should we best understand these properties? How do they participate in causal interactions? What would properties have to be like to explain the success of science?

Biography

I am a Birmingham Fellow. I joined the department in 2017. Since joining Birmingham, I’ve worked mainly in the philosophy of cognitive science, especially on perception.

 Before that, I was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge for two years. I worked mainly on the metaphysics of properties, and the importance of properties for understanding consciousness.

I got my PhD in 2015 from the University of Durham. My thesis was on attention. For this, I was supported by the University, and by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Willingness to take PhD students

Yes

PhD projects

I welcome enquiries from anyone working in any area of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, or philosophy of cognitive science.