My Ph.D. research was on epistemology – mainly on the relation of knowledge and certainty, the limits of doubt, and the later Wittgenstein. After that, my research interests changed and are now mostly in the philosophy of mind and psychiatry. In particular, I am currently interested in three areas: the nature of naturalism, emergence, and the philosophical and ethical implications of certain kinds of mental disorder.
In connection with naturalism and emergence, I have been working on what it means to be a naturalist when it comes to the mind, what such a position includes and what it rules out. Though naturalism about the mind has been typically associated with some kind of physicalism and thus some form of reductionism (either explanatory or ontological), it seems to me that given the primacy of empirical evidence that should be the core of a naturalist view, a naturalist should be open to different commitments. My contention is that a naturalist ought to be an emergentist about the mind.
In relation to emergence, I have worked on elucidating the concept of a brute fact and the role that brute facts play in emergentism. Traditionally the idea of a fundamental fact has been linked with the idea of an unexplainable fact and, also, dependent or supervenient phenomena have been thought of as non-fundamental. So the emergentist’s idea that some so-called “brute facts” are both dependent and fundamental can appear mysterious. In my work on brute facts (which includes different papers and the introduction to an anthology, Brute Facts, I co-edited in 2018) I try to dispel this appearance of mystery.
I am also interested in mental disorders and what they can tell us about the nature of the mind and about the kind of explanatory approach that is needed to address mental disorders effectively. Exploring such questions via psychiatric research, may, beyond possibly providing insights towards a better theory of mind, also contribute to practical applications (e.g. concerning social policy).
I have always been interested in the epistemology of religion and the nature of the relation of religion to science but I have never taken these up as a major area of research. Instead, so far, I try to review books that cover such topics hoping that one day inspiration will strike and I will delve deeper into all of this.
Bringing philosophical thinking to the general public is something I always try to do (regrettably sometimes to the despair of my friends) so I make it a point to contribute as much as I can to non-academic projects related to philosophy, including blogging for Psychology Today and Scientific American Mind and, prior to that, having a regular column in the Greek philosophy magazine Cogito.
In September 2020 my first book in Greek entitled Animal and Us (Τα Ζώα και Εμείς) was published. In October of the same year an anthology I edited, and wrote the introduction for, with contributions only by women on the nature and value of philosophy, will be published by Routledge.