Ian Phillips

Ian Phillips

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Psychological and Brain Sciences

Contact Information

Research Interests: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Psychology and Neuroscience, Epistemology, Metaphysics

Education: PhD, University College London

I studied the BPhil in philosophy at Magdalen College, Oxford and my PhD in philosophy at University College, London. During and after my PhD, I was a Fellow by Examination at All Souls College, Oxford. My first permanent position was as a lecturer at University College, London. I then moved back to Oxford as Associate (and later Full) Professor and Gabriele Taylor Fellow at St. Anne’s College. After a two-year stint as a visiting research scholar in the Program in Cognitive Science at Princeton, I joined Johns Hopkins in 2019. I am currently a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Brain Sciences, jointly appointed in the William H. Miller, III Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

I have worked across a wide range of areas, but my primary fields of interest are philosophy of mind and philosophy of the mind/brain sciences. I have written extensively on questions to do with the nature and contents of perception, as well as memory and imagination. My work on perception includes more purely philosophical work developing and defending a naïve realist account of perceptual experience, theoretical work on such topics as visual illusions, visual adaptation, afterimages and shadows, and collaborative empirical studies, most recently on whether we perceive silence and a large-scale re-examination of inattentional blindness. A major theme in my work historically has been our perceptual encounter with time. In addition to writing multiple papers on this topic, I edited The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Temporal Experience.

I have also worked extensively on foundational issues in consciousness science, developing and defending accounts of central and contested phenomena such as putative cases of unconscious perception (especially, blindsight) and iconic memory, but also pressing a range of methodological issues which confront the field. In this relation, I was awarded the William James Prize for Contributions to the Scientific Study of Consciousness by the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in 2011, and (together with Ned Block) the Phi Beta Kappa Society and APA Lebowitz Prize for philosophical achievement and contribution in 2021.

Recent courses I have taught include:

(i) Philosophy of Mind

(ii) Seeing Things (First Year Seminar)

(iii) Readings and Skills in Contemporary Philosophy

(iv) Advanced Seminar in Vision (for PBS)

(v) Animal Points of View

(vi) Philosophy of Psychology

  1. I. Phillips ‘What has episodic memory got to do with space and time?’, forthcoming in S. Aronowitz & L. Nadel (eds) Space, Time, and Memory, OUP, forthcoming.
    2. C. French & I. Phillips ‘A change of perspective: naïve realism and normal variation’, forthcoming in O. Beck & F. Masrour (eds) The Relational View of Perception: New Essays Routledge, forthcoming.
    3. I. Phillips & C. Firestone ‘Visual adaptation and the purpose of perception’, Analysis, in press.
    4. M. Nartker, C. Firestone, H. Egeth & I. Phillips. ‘Six ways of failing to see (and why the differences matter),’ i-Perception, 2023, 14(5): 1–6.
  2. R.Z. Goh, I. Phillips† & C. Firestone† ‘The perception of silence’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2023, 120(29):  1–9. († = joint senior author)
  3. A. Upadhyayula, I. Phillips & J. Flombaum ‘Eccentricity advances arrival to visual perception’, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2023, 152(6): 1527–1538.
    7. C. French & I. Phillips ‘Naïve realism, the slightest philosophy, and the slightest science’, in B. P. McLaughlin & J. Cohen (eds) Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell, 2023, pp. 363–383.
    8. I. Phillips ‘Bias and blindsight: a reply to Michel and Lau’, Psychological Review, 2021, 128(3): 592–595.
    9. I. Phillips ‘Blindsight is qualitatively degraded conscious vision’, Psychological Review, 2021, 128(3): 558–584.
    10. I. Phillips ‘Scepticism about unconscious perception is the default hypothesis’, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2021, 28(3-4):186–205.
    11. C. French & I. Phillips ‘Austerity and illusion’, Philosophers’ Imprint, 2020, 20(15): 1–19.
    12. I. Phillips ‘Making sense of blindsense: a commentary on Garric et al. 2019’, Cortex, 2020, 127: 388–392.
    13. I. Phillips ‘Object files and unconscious perception: a reply to Quilty-Dunn’, Analysis, 2020, 80(2): 293–301.
    14. I. Phillips & J. Morales ‘The fundamental problem with no-cognition paradigms’, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2020, 24(3): 165–7.
    15. I. Phillips ‘Unconscious perception reconsidered’, Analytic Philosophy, 2018, 59(4): 471–514.
    16. I. Phillips ‘The methodological puzzle of phenomenal consciousness’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 2018, 373(20170347): 1–9.
    17. I. Phillips ‘No more than meets the eye: shadows as pure visibilia’, in C. Mac Cumhaill & T. Crowther (eds) Perceptual Ephemera, OUP, 2018, pp. 172–193.
    18. I. Phillips ‘Consciousness, time, and memory’, in R. J. Gennaro (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Consciousness, Routledge, 2018, pp. 286–297.
    19. I. Phillips ‘What we need to think about when we think about unconscious perception’, part of the symposium: M. Peters, R. Kentridge, I. Phillips & N. Block ‘Does unconscious perception really exist? Continuing the ASSC 20 Debate’, Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2017, 3(1): 11–1.
    20. I. Phillips & N. Block ‘Debate on unconscious perception’, in B. Nanay (ed.) Current Controversies in Philosophy of Perception, Routledge, 2017, pp. 165–192.
    21. I. Phillips (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Temporal Experience, Routledge, 2017.
  4. I. Phillips ‘The significance of temporal experience’, in I. Phillips (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Temporal Experience, Routledge, 2017, pp. 1–15.
    23. I. Phillips ‘Naïve realism and the science of (some) illusions’, Philosophical Topics, C. Hill & B. McLaughlin (eds), 2016, 44(2): 279–305.
    24. I. Phillips ‘Consciousness and criterion: on Block’s case for unconscious seeing’ Philosophy & Phenomenological Research, 2016, 93(2): 419–451 (with a reply in the same issue by Ned Block).
    25. I. Phillips ‘No watershed for overflow: recent work on the richness of consciousness’ Philosophical Psychology, 2016, 29(2): 236–249.
    26. I. Phillips ‘Cetacean semantics: a reply to Sainsbury’, Analysis, 2014, 74(3): 379–382.
    27. I. Phillips ‘Experience of and in time’, Philosophy Compass, 2014, 9(2): 131–144.
    28. I. Phillips ‘Breaking the silence: motion silencing and experience of change’, Philosophical Studies, 2014, 168(3): 693–707.
    29. I. Phillips ‘Lack of imagination: individual differences in mental imagery and the significance of consciousness’, in J. Kallestrup & M. Sprevak (eds) New Waves in Philosophy of Mind Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 278–300.
    30. I. Phillips ‘The temporal structure of experience’, in D. Lloyd & V. Arstila (eds) Subjective Time: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Temporality MIT Press, 2014, pp. 139–158.
    31. I. Phillips ‘Perceiving the passing of time’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 2013, 113(3): 225–252.
    32. I. Phillips ‘Hearing and hallucinating silence’, in F. Macpherson & D. Platchias (eds) Hallucination MIT Press, 2013, pp. 333–360.
    33. I. Phillips ‘Afterimages and sensation’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2013, 87(2): 417–453.
    34. I. Phillips ‘Belief and judgment’, in H. Pashler (ed.) Encyclopedia of Mind, SAGE, 2013, pp. 111–114.
    35. I. Phillips ‘Attention to the passage of time’, Philosophical Perspectives (a supplement to Noûs), 2012, 26(1): 277–308.
    36. I. Phillips ‘Indiscriminability and experience of change’, The Philosophical Quarterly, 2011, 61(245): 808–827.
    37. I. Phillips ‘Perception and iconic memory: what Sperling doesn't show’, Mind & Language, 2011, 26(4): 381–411.
    38. I. Phillips ‘Attention and iconic memory’, in C. Mole, D. Smithies & W. Wu (eds) Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays OUP, 2011, pp. 204–227.
    39. I. Phillips ‘Stuck in the closet: a reply to Ahmed’, Analysis, 2011, 71(1): 86–91.
    40. I. Phillips ‘Perceiving temporal properties’, European Journal of Philosophy, 2010, 18(2): 176–202.
    41. I. Phillips ‘Rate abuse: a reply to Olson’, Analysis, 2009, 69(3): 503–505.
    42. I. Phillips ‘Morgenbesser cases and closet determinism’, Analysis, 2007, 67(1): 42–9.
    43. A. McCarthy & I. Phillips ‘No new argument against the existence requirement’, Analysis, 2006, 66(1): 39–44.