Exploring the Mind’s Eye: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Imagination

Imagination is at the center of contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind. The ontological status of mental imagery, the epistemological status of imagined possibilities, and the relationship between imaginative ability and the subjective knowledge of one’s experiences are all rigorously debated. Likewise, the nature and function of imagination is an important and lively area of research in neuroscience and developmental psychology.

In this interdisciplinary conference, we aim to provide a platform where prominent scholars can share, discuss and develop their views and theories in the light of the most recent developments in the philosophical and scientific research on imagination.

Dates: October 25-26, 2019

Venue: FFB-22 (Bilkent University, Main Campus)




Host institution: Bilkent University

Host departments: Philosophy, Neuroscience & Psychology

Organized by the Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Group at Bilkent University


Printable Program: click here.

Conference photos: click here.

Conference videos: click here.

Contact: imgconf@bilkent.edu.tr


Speaker Biographies

Anna Abraham: Professor of Psychology at Leeds Becket University. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Ruhr University Bochum. She has worked in departments/labs of biopsychology, neuropsychology, neurology, clinical psychology, general education and community medicine in different parts of the world. Her areas of expertise include the study of cognitive and brain function in relation to processes of imagination such as creativity, prospection or mental time travel, theory of mind or mental state reasoning, self-referential and evaluative judgements, and the reality-fiction/fantasy distinction. Her methodological expertise includes functional resonance neuroimaging (fMRI), event related potentials (ERP), neuropsychological investigations of neurological and psychiatric populations, as well as behavioural studies on typical populations. She has published in journals such as Scientific American, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Consciousness & Cognition, Neuropsychologia, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Brain Imaging and Behavior and Brain Research. In addition, she has recently published a book entitled The Neuroscience of Creativity (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Amy Kind: Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. She earned her PhD in Philosophy at University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests lie broadly in the philosophy of mind, with a particular focus on imagination and phenomenal consciousness.  She has also published in journals such as Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and The Philosophical Quarterly.  She has edited three books: Knowledge Through Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2016), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination (2017), and Philosophy of Mind in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries (Routledge, 2018).  She has also written a short introductory textbook, Persons and Personal Identity (Polity Press, 2015). She is the editor of a scholarly blog on imagination called The Junkyard.

Tufan Kıymaz: Assistant professor of philosophy at Bilkent University. He received his PhD in Philosophy, with a minor in History and Philosophy of Science, from Indiana University, Bloomington. His main area of research is philosophy of mind, more specifically our first-personal knowledge of subjective qualities like what it is like to see red or what it is like to be in pain, and the possibility of a fully materialistic and scientific explanation of this type of knowledge. He is also interested in philosophy of religion, especially probabilistic/evidential arguments for and against the existence of god. He has papers published on philosophy of consciousness, metaphysics, and the theory of well-being.

Kourken Michaelian: Philosophy professor at Université Grenoble Alpes. He works mainly on memory and mental time travel, from the perspectives of epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of psychology/cognitive science. He has authored a book titled Mental Time Travel: Episodic Memory and Our Knowledge of the Personal Past (MIT Press, 2016) and scholarly articles in journals such as Synthese, Erkenntnis, Mind & Language, Review of Philosophy and Psychology, and Behavioral and Brain Sciences. He has edited three books: New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory (Routledge, 2018), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory (2017) and Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel (Oxford University Press, 2016). He also co-authored the “Memory” entry in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Bence Nanay: Professor of Philosophy and co-director of the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp and Senior Research Associate at Peterhouse, Cambridge University. He has published around 150 scholarly articles in four languages, in journals such as Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, Analysis, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Mind & Language, Journal of Mind and Behavior, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences and Philosophical Psychology. His books include Aesthetics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2019), Between Perception and Action (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception (Oxford University Press, 2016). Dr. Nanay is the primary investigator of the Between Perception and Action project at the University of Antwerp, supported by a million euro grant from Flemish Research Foundation. He is also the primary investigator of the Seeing Things You Don’t See project, supported by a 2-million-euro Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council.

David Papineau: Professor of Philosophy of Science at King’s College London and the City University of New York Graduate Center, having previously taught for several years at Cambridge University where he was a fellow of Robinson College. Papineau was elected President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science for 1993–1995, of the Mind Association for 2009–2010 and of the Aristotelian Society for 2013-2014. He has published nine books and edited three. His articles are published in journals such as Philosophical Studies, Analysis, Nous, Journal of Philosophy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and Mind. He has worked in metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophies of science, mind, and mathematics. His overall stance is naturalist and realist. He is one of the originators of the teleosemantic theory of mental representation, a solution to the problem of intentionality which derives the intentional content of our beliefs from their biological purpose. He is also a defender of the a posteriori physicalist solution to the mind-body problem.

Margot Strohminger: Marie Curie Fellow at Oxford University’s Faculty of Philosophy and ​Junior Research Fellow, St Cross College. She completed her PhD in Philosophy at the Arché Research Centre at the University of St Andrews. Dr Strohminger works primarily in epistemology and the philosophy of mind, with a particular emphasis on perception and imagination. In her current work, she examines the simulation of mental states, especially belief, and its role in hypothetical thinking. She is especially interested in how thought experiments work, imaginative resistance, and truth in fiction. She has published in journals such as Philosophical Studies, Analysis, Philosophical Perspectives, and the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.

Deena Weisberg: Assistant Professor at Villanova University, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. She is also Fellow of the Center for Neuroscience & Society and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. She earned her PhD in Psychology from Yale University and received her postdoctoral training at Rutgers University and Temple University. She has held positions at Australian National University, Brown University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Her primary research interests are the development of imaginative cognition, the role that the imagination plays in learning, and scientific thinking and reasoning in children and adults. She has published in journals such as Cognitive Science, Journal of Cognition and Development, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Cognition, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Science, and Psychological Bulletin.

Adam Zeman: Professor of Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology at University of Exeter Medical School. His specialized clinical work is in cognitive and behavioral neurology, including neurological disorders of sleep. His main research interests are disorders of visual imagery and forms of amnesia occurring in epilepsy. He has authored more than 160 scholarly articles. He has an active background interest in the science and philosophy of consciousness, publishing an accessible introduction to the subject for a general readership (Consciousness: A User’s Guide, Yale University Press, 2002). In 2008 he published an introduction to neurology for the general reader, A Portrait of the Brain (Yale University Press), and in 2012, Epilepsy and Memory (Oxford University Press) with Narinder Kapur and Marilyn Jones-Gotman. From 2007-2010 he was Chair of the British Neuropsychiatry Association. Listen to Professor Zeman on the Not Exactly Rocket Science podcast.


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