Members

If you’re interested in becoming a member of ECOM, please contact Dorit Bar-On.

Director

Dorit Bar-On
Professor, Philosophy, University of Connecticut 
(formerly Zachary Smith Distinguished Professor, Philosophy, UNC-Chapel Hill)
Professor Bar-On specializes in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology. She also has research interests in metaethics. In her book Speaking My Mind: Expression and Self-Knowledge (Oxford Nov 2004), she develops a neo-expressivist view of first-person authority, drawing on insights from philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, theory of action, and epistemology.  In recent years, she has been working on the topic of continuities between linguistic and non-linguistic communication and expressive behavior. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Expression, Communication, and the Origins of Meaning, under contract with Oxford University Press. She also has a forthcoming article jointly written with ECOM member Drew Johnson in an international volume on epistemology. Additional works in progress: a book on expression and self-knowledge (with Crispin Wright), a book on truth (with Keith Simmons), and a manuscript on neo-expressivism.


Faculty Members

Dorit
Paul Bloomfield
Professor, Philosophy, University of Connecticut
Paul Bloomfield’s specializations are in moral philosophy and metaphysics, with particular interest in the overlap of these. He has published monographs on moral realism and the relation of the moral virtues to happiness, and is currently interested in the empirical status and content of “human nature” and how it may place constraints on morality.
Paul Bloomfield

Austen Clark
Emertius Professor, Philosophy, University of Connecticut
Monographs on reductionism, sensory qualities, and sentience from OUP. Specializations philosophy of psychology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind. Recent interests in psychological models of color vision and of motor control as avenues into the mind-body problem.

Austen Clark

Dr. Marie Coppola
Associate Professor, Psychology, Linguistics, Director of the Language Creation Laboratory, University of Connecticut
Dr. Coppola investigates the contributions of the learner and the environment by studyinglanguages created de novo by individuals (homesign gesture systems) and communities (e.g., Nicaraguan Sign Language). She also investigates the relationship between language development and cognitive development in the areas of number cognition, social cognition, and executive function. She also co-edits the Sign Language Typology book series.

Marie Coppola

Mitchell Green
Professor, Philosophy, University of Connecticut
Mitch Green's specializations are in Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, and Aesthetics. His current research interests include evolutionary biology of communication, speech acts and their role in communication, empathy, self-knowledge, self-expression, and attitude ascription.

Mitchell Green

William G. Lycan
Visting Distinguished Professor, Philosophy, University of Connecticut
and William Rand Kenan Professor Emertius, Philosophy, UNC-Chapel Hill

William G. Lycan specializes in philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, but also contributes to epistemology. He is the author of: Logical Form in Natural Language(MIT, 1984); Knowing Who(with Stephen Boer) (MIT, 1986); Consciousness(MIT, 1987); Judgement and Justification(Cambridge, 1988); Modality and Meaning(Kluwer, 1994); Consciousness and Experience(MIT, 1996); Real Conditionals(Oxford, 2001); and 160-odd articles on assorted topics.

William Lycan

Dr. Letitia Naigles
Professor, Psychology, Developmental Division Head, University of Connecticut
Dr. Naigles studies children’s language acquisition, particularly across languages and with special populations. Her current research focuses on the interacting roles of linguistic input and linguistic predispositions in the acquisition of word meanings and sentence structures in both typically developing children and children who have been diagnosed with autism. She is the editor of Innovative Investigations of Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder (2017)  NY: APA Books/Walter deGruyter and just received an R01 titled ‘Early Predictors to School Age Language: Individual and Interactional Child and Parent Factors'.

Letitia Naigles

Eiling Yee
Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut

Dr. Yee investigates how meaning is represented in the human mind by studying the cognitive and neural representations of concepts. An area of particular interest in the Yee Lab is the relationship between context (e.g., perceptual information and experiences) and language and/or conceptual processing. Dr. Yee also has interests in spoken word recognition and language processing more broadly.

Dr.Yee regularly teaches seminars on the Psychology of Language. Please contact her for more details.


Graduate and Postdoctoral Members

Teresa Allen
ECOM Research Specialist; Graduate student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Teresa is primarily interested in social, political, and feminist epistemology. Her dissertation explores the conditions under which we ought to open-mindedly engage with those with whom we disagree. She has secondary interests in philosophy of language, human rights, truth, and ethics.

Teresa Allen

Phillip Barron
Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Phillip Barron is a poet and student in the PhD program in Philosophy. He works primarily in the disciplines of philosophy of language, mind, and aesthetics. Using techniques from pragmatics, his work offers an account of how a poem means.

Phillip Barron

Charles Davis
Graduate Student, Psychology, University of Connecticut

I use primarily cognitive neuroscience methods to answer the question, “How is meaning represented in the brain?” I am interested in semantic representation in language, and the neural circuits that support these representations. My current work is investigating the representation of abstract concepts, looking at the interaction of semantic and episodic memory in the processing of abstract concepts, and the role of the hippocampus in this relation. I am also interested in the distributed representation of semantic memory across sensorimotor areas of the brain (the extent to which sensory, perceptual, and motor areas are involved in processing language), and how these ideas map onto language creation and, from an evolutionary perspective, non-human communication.

Charles Davis

Mary Gregg
Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Mary is working on her PhD at UCONN. Her research focuses on tests for consciousness in borderline cases of consciousness and the implications these tests have on our interactions with artificial intelligence. She also has interests in the interaction between metaphor and perception, the role of music as a signpost for consciousness in non-traditional cases, and how and whether language shapes our conception of time, space, and identity.

Mary Gregg

Jared Henderson
Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Jared Henderson's primary research areas are at the intersections of philosophy of language, metaphysics, and philosophical logic. He is interested in formal semantics (particularly the semantics of generics and epistemic language), expressivism, fictionalism, and theories of meaning. He is also interested in the history of analytic philosophy (particularly Carnap and Frege).

Jared Henderson

Kensuke Ito
Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Ken primarily studies assertion and denial in the philosophy of language and philosophical logic. He is also interested in the questions about their origins and precursors.

Ken Ito

Drew Johnson
PhD Candidate, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Drew's primary research interests right now are in metaethics and epistemology. His main focus is on exploring a neo-expressivist account of the nature of ethical thought and discourse, in a way that ultimately allows for the possibility of ethical knowledge.

Drew Johnson

Nathan Kellen
PhD Candidate, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Nathan's primary research interests are in truth studies and the philosophy of logic. His dissertation, preliminarily titled Pluralisms about Truth and Logic, examines the theoretical connections between truth pluralism and logical pluralism. Other interests include normativity, philosophy of language and semantic anti-realism about pretty much everything.

Nathan Kellen

Susanna Melkonian-Altshuler
Visiting Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Susanna's primary research areas are philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and philosophy of art. She is interested in the relationship between emotion, intentionality, and phenomenology. She is also interested in the relationship between emotion, empathy, and morality. She has also worked on the relationship between embodied cognition, artifact concepts, and lexical meaning. She has done so at Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf where she was a DFG-Junior Research Fellow at the Collaborative Research Centre 991: "The Structures of Representations in Language, Cognition, and Science".

Susanna Melkonian-Altshuler

Aliyar Ozercan
ECOM Coordinator; PhD Candidate, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Aliyar’s interests are in Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, and Neuropsychology. He has worked on distinguishing speaker reference from audience reference. As his current research focuses on the neural activity of encoding and decoding representations, his overall aim is to develop a unified and robust theory to explain the whole processes involved in conversation -- from constructing, storing, and accessing representations to transferring and creating stimuli.

Aliyar Ozercan

Jenelle Salisbury
Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Jenelle is primarily interested in the nature of thought and its relationship to consciousness. She is also interested in the unity of consciousness and self-consciousness. She aims to use recent findings in neuroscience to inform philosophical theorizing on these issues.

Janelle Salisbury

Ryo Tanaka
Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Ryo Tanaka’s primary research areas are philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. He is interested in a normative aspect of intentionality/meaning, and its place in the natural world. Relatedly, he is interested in semantics and pragmatics of the normative language, and also the history of pragmatism (especially, Wilfrid Sellars).


Affiliated Members

Ryo Tanaka

Emma Björngard
Academic Adviser, University of Connecticut School of Business

Emma's interests are mainly in Philosophy of Mind, Language and Ethics. Other interests include animal communication and the role of emotions in communication. Her dissertation is on embodied affect and cognition.

Emma Bjorngard

Ralph DiFranco
Instructor, Philosophy, Auburn University

Ralph works primarily in philosophy of language and applied ethics. His current research is on slurs, inner speech, and derogatory humor.

Ralph DiFranco

Andrew Morgan
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Andrew’s research spans issues in moral psychology, social philosophy, and philosophy of language. He is interested in using pragmatics to better understand the diversity of inner speech’s forms and functions. In moral psychology this means exploring inner speech’s role in deliberation and action, and in social philosophy this means explaining the expressive power of solitary derogatory utterances. Andrew also works more generally on the implications of nonstandard linguistic contexts (like inner speech and internet speech) for our understanding of the nature of pragmatic phenomena like speech acts, implicature, and self-expression.

Andrew Morgan

Kate Nolfi
Assistant Professor, Philosophy, University of Vermont

Kate works primarily in epistemology, although her research touches on related topics in metaethics, the philosophy of action, and the philosophy of mind.  Kate is particularly interested in meta-normative questions in epistemology.  Her dissertation, which develops and defends a novel account of the authority and force of epistemic norms, is titled "Understanding Epistemic Normativity."  Before joining the Philosophy Department at UNC as a graduate student in 2008, Kate earned her B.A. at Williams College, where she double-majored in Philosophy and Mathematics.

Kate Nolfi

Casey Johnson
Assistant Professor, Philosophy, University of Idaho

Casey's research focuses on the effects of social position and power on testimonial knowledge transmission and on conversation. In current work, she is interested in epistemic labor, disagreement, and epistemic and communicative injustice.

Casey Johnson

Kevin Richardson
Assistant Professor, Philosophy, North Carolina State University

Kevin Richardson specializes in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and pragmatism. His recent work focuses on the metaphysics of meaning and its implications for semantic theory.

Kevin Richardson

Carol W. Voeller
Freelance Editor and Researcher, Oregon State 

Dr. Voeller got her Ph.D. from UCLA; her dissertation, titled The Metaphysics of the Moral Law: Kant’s Deduction of Freedom, was published in the Garland Studies in Ethics series edited by Robert Nozick. Her areas of specialization as a philosopher are in moral theory, environmental ethics, metaphysics and Kant. As an editor and research assistant, she has worked on a wide variety of topics in addition to the foregoing including: evolution of meaning, epistemology, philosophy of logic and mathematics and philosophy of language. She has broad interests in the sciences including ecology, evolution, paleontology, anthropology, biology and physics.


Past Faculty Members

Peter Gordon
Professor, Psychology, UNC-Chapel Hill
Peter Gordon’s work focuses primarily upon the psychology of language, though his interests in that topic are very broad. Right now he is focusing on several topics related to the higher levels of language comprehension. These include: the nature of the memory processes involved in understanding complex sentences, the identification of universal and language-specific processes in language comprehension, and the use of ERPs and fMRI to understand the relation between the brain mechanisms used for processing words in isolation and in meaningful context.

Douglas Long
Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, UNC-Chapel Hill
Professor Long specializes in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. He has published papers on a variety of topics, including persons, action, the mind-body problem, the concept of the human body, knowledge of other minds, and skepticism. Recent work has focused on the special role played by animate behavior with respect to the concept of mind and in supporting mental attributions.Sample publications include: “The Philosophical Concept of a Human Body,” Philosophical Review(1964); “The Bodies of Persons,” Journal of Philosophy(1974); “Agents, Mechanisms, and Other Minds,” in Body, Mind, and Method, Gustafson and Tapscott eds. (1979); The Self-Defeating Character of Scepticism,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1992); “Why Machines Can Neither Think Nor Feel,” in Language, Mind, and Arted. by Jamieson (1994); “Avowals and First-Person Privilege” (with Dorit Bar-On, 2001); “Why Life is Necessary for Mind: The Significance of Animate Behavior” in Self, Language, and World: Problems from Kant, Sellars, and Rosenberg: in Memory of Jay F. Rosenberg, O’Shea and Rubenstein, eds. 2010.

Dean Pettit
Formerly ECOM's Associate Director
Visiting Assistant Professor, Philosophy, UNC-Chapel Hill
Dean Pettit has research interests in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and epistemology. He is working now on the relationship between linguistic understanding and perceptual knowledge.


Past Student Members

Aryn Conrad
Graduate Student, Philosophy, Duke University
Aryn is currently a graduate student in Philosophy at Duke, and concurrently working on a JD at Stanford Law School. Her philosophical interests include Philosophy of Biology, Function, Cultural Evolution, Moral Psychology and Aesthetics. Her legal interests include Tort Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Comparative Law, Legal History, and Law and Neuroscience.

Corey Cusimano
Research Assistant, Brown University
Corey graduated recently from UNC with a degree in philosophy and psychology, and a minor in cognitive science. His philosophical interests include philosophy of mind, ethics, metaethics, epistemology, and moral psychology. He also has interests in neuroscience, psycholinguistics, and experimental philosophy.  He is currently a lab manager and research assistant in the Sentence and Discourse Processing Labat Brown University, working with Laura Kertz.

Mike Deigan
Graduate Student, Philosophy, Yale University
Mike has interests in philosophy of language, mind, linguistics, and psychology. Also history of early modern philosophy (especially Hume) and early analytic philosophy. Outside philosophy, he is interested in linguistics and psycholinguistics and works in Peter Gordon’s Psycholoinguistic Lab at UNC. He graduated last Spring from UNC with a major in philosophy and linguistics and a minor in cognitive science.

Hanna Gunn
Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of Connecticut
Interests include philosophy of mind (phenomenal consciousness, theory of mind, semantic and pragmatic theories of meaning for humans and non-human animals, belief), philosophy of language (pragmatics), and cognitive science generally. More specifically, my honours thesis was on current critiques of strong representational theories of mind (like those of Dretske and Tye.) I am currently working on a project concerning pragmatic meaning and illocutionary silencing.

JJ Lang
Graduate Student, Philosophy, Stanford University, 
is a 2013 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a major in philosophy and a minor in women's and gender studies.  His interests in philosophy are logic, language, and examining ways in which logic and language can be used to better understand and teach issues in feminism.  Outside of philosophy, JJ is a volunteer at the Compass Center for Women and Families, an avid chess player, and music director for WXYC-Chapel Hill,
UNC's student-run radio station.

Miroslav Losonsky
Former Graduate Student, Philosophy, UNC-Chapel Hill
Miroslav is primarily interested in meaning, normativity, 'normativity', rule-following, and so on.

 Charles Olbert
Graduate Student, Clinical Psychology, Fordham University
Charles graduated with a BA in philosophy from UNC in 2005, and subsequently worked as a research coordinator in the clinical program of the Department of Psychology studying social cognition in psychotic disorders. He is interested in various issues in and overlaps between philosophy of mind and epistemology.  In Fall 2013, he will be a second-year graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral programat Fordham University, studying the mathematical coherence of psychiatric diagnostic category criteria and the empirical coherence of those criteria sets as they occur in populo.

Thomas Pendlebury
Psychology PhD (Fordham University) 
Thomas has had interests primarily in the philosophy of language; metaphysics and epistemology, broadly construed; and the theory and metatheory of linguistics. He will graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill  with majors in Philosophy and Linguistics.

Russell Richie
Post-Doctoral Researcher, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Russell was a graduate student in Psychological Sciences at UConn from 2011 to 2017. He is interested in cognitive science and particularly the dynamics of language and culture. He is now a post-doctoral researcher working with Drs. Jonah Berger and Robert Meyer at the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.