Professor Giovanna Colombetti
BA (Florence), MSc (Birmingham), DPhil (Sussex)
Telephone: 01392 723287
I am a philosopher of cognitive science, and my main research interests and work concern primarily affective phenomena. In my work I draw liberally on phenomenology, analytic philosophy, as well as theoretical and experimental work in psychology and neuroscience. More recently I have become increasingly interested in the contribution that the social sciences (such as cultural sociology and anthropology) can make to our understanding of affectivity.
In 2010-2014 I was the Principal Investigator of a Starting Grant funded by the European Research Council (ERC), titled "Emoting the Embodied Mind" (EMOTER). This project focused primarily on so-called "embodied" and "enactive" approaches in the philosophy of cognitive science. These approaches have emphasized that to explain and understand mental phenomena we need to look at the whole organism; studying the brain only is not sufficient. My project EMOTER expanded upon this view, elaborating its implications for our understanding of various affective phenomena (such as emotions, moods, feelings), and of the relation between cognition and affectivity. Team members on this project were Kim Wright, Peter Cannon, and Tom Roberts. My book The Feeling Body: Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind (2014, MIT Press) presents and discusses most of the ideas developed during this project.
More recently, I have focused on the "extended-mind" thesis, according to which not just the body, but even the environment can be seen as constitutive of cognition. In particular I am interested in whether and how this thesis (and related ones such as accounts of the mind as "scaffolded" and "distributed") applies to affective phenomena as well. Also, what is the contribution that the social sciences (and not just the cognitive/affective sciences) can make to our understanding of the relationship between affectivity and the world?
For some strange reason this website does not allow me to put links to my papers on the "publication" page (see the links on the right-hand side of this page). So, in case you are insterested and still reading this, pre-publication versions of some of my work can be found here.