I am a philosopher of mind and of cognitive science at the University of California, Santa Cruz. My work draws on the history of philosophy and on contemporary research in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and in computer science. A central theme of my research is understanding what kind of capacity perception is, what it presupposes, and what kind of relationship it affords with the environment. In my recent work, I have developed an anti-constructivist account of perception that contrasts with philosophical and psychological orthodoxy. My present projects concern (a) Bayesian and predictive coding models of perception; (b) conceptual development, and (c) the significance of fMRI research for understanding cognition (with a particular focus on the gender literature). I also have interests in epistemology, in aesthetics, and I am affiliated with the Feminist Studies department at UCSC.
I received my Phd in 2007 under the supervision of Bill Lycan. Before moving to UC Santa Cruz in 2014, I spent a few years as an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Rice University where, in 2011, I received a Phi Beta Kappa teaching award. I spent one year as a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center in 2012. I was a visiting researcher at the Riken Laboratory for Perceptual Dynamics in Tokyo, Japan (2010), at the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris, France (2016), and at the Rotman Institute in London, Ontario (2019). I am fortunate to sometimes co-author with Geoff Lee, and with JJ Dinishak, and to collaborate on campus with Jason Samaha. I am also presently supervising the PhD thesis of Jordan Dopkins and the senior undergraduate thesis of Sam Ayele.
I am originally from Italy. I was born in Siena and did my undergraduate in Florence. I am a first generation University student.