Personal website: https://sites.google.com/site/ewestraphilosophy
I work in the philosophy of cognitive science and moral cognition. I am especially interested in the cognitive science of mindreading (also known as “mentalizing” or “theory of mind”), communication, moral character judgment, and social norms. Currently, I am working with Kristin Andrews on a project about the role of mentalizing in normative judgment. I also run a monthly reading group on moral cognition.
Before coming to York, I was a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Philosophy Department at the University of Toronto; before that, I taught in the Philosophy Department at the University of Rochester.
Philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, social cognition, moral psychology, pragmatics
Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
M.A. University of British Columbia
B.A. University of British Columbia
Westra, E. (2020). “In defense of ordinary moral character judgment.” Erkenntnis. Online first.
Westra, E. (2019). “Getting to know you: Accuracy and error in judgments of character.” Mind & Language. Online first.
Westra, E. (2019). “Stereotypes, theory of mind, and the action-prediction hierarchy.” Synthese, 196(7), 2821-2846.
Schönherr, J. and Westra, E. (2019). “Beyond ‘interaction’: How to understand social effects on social cognition.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 70(1), 27-52.
Westra, E. (2018). “Character and theory of mind: An integrative approach.” Philosophical Studies, 175(5), 1217-1241.
Westra, E. and Carruthers, P. (2017). “Pragmatic development explains the Theory-of-Mind Scale,” Cognition 158, 165-176.
I’m a VISTA Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy and Centre for Vision Research at York University, Toronto. Before arriving at York, I completed a DPhil in Philosophy at the University of Oxford (June 2019). During my final year I worked part-time as a Researcher on The Sense of Commitment Project at the University of Warwick, and in 2017-18 I froze my studies in Oxford to take up a Procter Fellowship at Princeton University.
Most of my research lies at the intersection between philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In published work, I’ve argued that human perception is modular, that it produces representations with an ‘analog’ format, that joint action goals can reduce visuomotor interference from a partner’s physically incongruent movements, that humans have a primitive ‘number sense’ which genuinely represents number, and that naïve realist accounts of conscious experience are consistent with the findings of an advancing cognitive science:
(Forthcoming) ‘Cognitive Penetration and Informational Encapsulation: Have we been failing the module?’ in Philosophical Studies [pdf]
(Forthcoming) ‘Beyond the Icon: Core cognition and the bounds of perception’ in Mind & Language [pdf]
(2019) ‘Naïve Realism and Phenomenal Similarity’ (w/ Alfonso Anaya) in Inquiry [pdf]
(2017) ‘Naïve Realism and Unconscious Perception: a reply to Berger and Nanay’ (w/ Alfonso Anaya) in Analysis [pdf]