Dr Keith A. Wilson

telephone: +44 (0)141 330 3289
email: keith.wilson@glasgow.ac.uk

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I’m a philosopher of mind and perception, and postdoctoral researcher on the AHRC large-grant project ‘Rethinking the Senses: Uniting the Philosophy and Neuroscience of Perception’ at the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience (CSPE).

For further information, please see the sections below, or follow me on Twitter, Academia.edu, PhilPapers.org or via my personal website.


Research interests


Strawberries, different coloursMy research on the Rethinking the Senses project concerns the implications of multi-modality—that is, sensory experiences that involve two or more of the traditional ‘five senses’ of vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell—for the philosophy, psychology and neuroscience of perception. I am also interested in how we individuate or identify various senses, the perception–cognition divide, and the temporal characteristics of perceptual experience and multisensory integration.

PhD thesis

I wrote my doctoral thesis on whether perceptual experience is best explained in terms of the notion of representation (i.e. representationalism), or as a non-representational relation to external objects (i.e. relationalism or Naïve Realism). In doing so, I aimed to clarify precisely what is at issue in the debate between representational and relational views of perceptual experience concerning the explanatory role (or roles) of personal-level representational content.

Event organisation

I have organised many research and outreach events, including a international workshop on Top-Down Influences in Perceptual Experience, an ECMN Research Forum for early career philosophers of mind, plus public engagement events at the Glasgow Science Festival and Glasgow Science Centre (see below). A full list of conferences and workshops attended may be found on my website.

Other research interests

  • Various topics in the philosophy of mind and perception, including the nature of perceptual experience, multimodal integration, time-consciousness, and attention
  • Epistemology—particularly, though not exclusively, of perception
  • Philosophy of cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience
  • The metaphysics of time and space, and the experience of temporal passage
  • The philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, including the work of former Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, Thomas Reid

For more information, see my personal website.

Current work

I am currently working on the following papers and research as part of Rethinking the Senses: Uniting the Philosophy and Neuroscience of Perception.

Special Issue of Topoi on Perception Without Representation

Co-edited with Roberta Locatelli of the University of Warwick. Papers by Bill Brewer, Berit Brogaard, Jérôme Dokic & Jean-Rémy Martin, Naomi Eilan, Ivan Ivanov, J. A. Judge, Michael O’Sullivan and Charles Travis now available online.

‌The Two Senses of Smell

Evaluates empirical and philosophical evidence for individuating ‘orthonasal’ and ‘retronasal’ olfaction as distinct type- or token-senses, a version of which I presented at the University of Edinburgh’s PPIG seminar (slides here).

Annotated Bibliography on ‘The Senses’

With Fiona Macpherson for Oxford Bibliographies.

Do Visual Experiences Have Representational Content?

A response to Susanna Siegel’s ‘Argument from Appearing’, which I recently presented at a workshop in Tübingen on Perception and Reasoning.

For further details, see keithwilson.org.uk/research.



I was an undergraduate at the University of York, where I was awarded a First Class BA (Hons.) with Distinction in Philosophy. I subsequently studied on the St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme (SASP), where I gained an MLitt in Philosophy, also with Distinction, in 2008.

I completed my doctorate in the Philosophy of Mind and Perception in 2013 at the University of Warwick (supervisors: Bill Brewer and Matthew Soteriou; examiners: Tim Crane and Naomi Eilan). In 2011, as a visiting exchange student at Columbia University, New York, I also attended seminars at Columbia, CUNY and NYU in the philosophy of psychology, neuroscience, time, and modal logic.


After completing my PhD I worked at the University of Sussex as a Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow, where I taught undergraduate modules in Philosophy of Mind, Perception and Reality, Philosophy of Science, and Plato, plus MA modules in Mind and Reality, and Language and Truth. In 2014, I was awarded a Student-Led Teaching Award for Outstanding Support for the Learning Experience of Students.

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher on the AHRC large-grant project, ‘Rethinking the Senses: Uniting the Philosophy and Neuroscience of Perception’, which is co-hosted by the Universities of Glasgow, Oxford, Warwick and the Centre for the Study of the Senses (CenSes), London. I am also on the executive committee of the University of Glasgow’s Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience (CSPE), where I organise the Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience Research Seminar.


Prior to studying philosophy, I worked in the IT industry as a software engineer and computer programmer during which time I wrote several bestselling computer games and other software titles. I have also worked as a sound engineer and producer, and used to run an independent record label at Kingston University, where I gained a Higher Diploma in Music Technology, Recording and Music Business Studies. Further details of my transition from IT to philosophy can be found here.

For more information, including a detailed CV, see keithwilson.org.uk/about.

Grants and funding

  • Wellcome Trust ISSF Public Engagement Bursary, February 2016
  • Scots Philosophical Association Conference Support Grant, August 2015
  • Analysis Trust, Aristotelian Society and Mind Association Conference Grants, 2009
  • AHRC Doctoral Funding, 2008–2011
  • AHRC Postgraduate Award, 2007–2008
  • British Library Research Information Network funding, in conjunction with Dr. Tom Stoneham, 2006

Teaching and supervision

I have previously taught on the MSc Philosophy of Mind module at the University of Glasgow, as well as teaching and convening undergraduate modules at the Universities of Warwick and Sussex on:

  • Philosophy of Mind (1st and 2nd Year)
  • Philosophy of Science (1st and 2nd Year)
  • Perception and Reality (2nd Year)
  • Consciousness and Reality (2nd and 3rd Year)
  • Mind and Reality (MA, convener)
  • Language and Truth (MA, co-taught)
  • Meaning and Communication (1st Year)
  • Introduction to Symbolic Logic (1st Year)
  • Issues in Philosophy (1st Year)
  • Plato (2nd Year)

I have also supervised undergraduate dissertations on:

  • Free will and the philosophy of mind
  • The philosophy of mental health
  • Epiphenomenalism

For more information, see keithwilson.org.uk/teaching.

Public engagement and outreach

I strongly believe in the importance of increasing public awareness and understanding of philosophy, and am available to comment on a wide range of issues including:

  • Philosophy of mind (esp. perception and the senses)
  • Philosophy of science (esp. psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, and the nature and experience of time), and
  • The relevance of philosophy to wider society.

I regularly tweet about philosophy (amongst other things), and was recently ranked as one of the top 40 Twitter accounts for philosophy.

Recent and forthcoming outreach activities

11–12 June 2016 Glasgow Science Festival Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
28 September–29 November 2015 ‘Impossible Lego object’ at the Objects of Research exhibition Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
6–7 June 2015 Engaging the Senses at the Glasgow Science Festival 2015, guest blog post Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
4 June 2015 Introduction to outdoor screening of The Matrix and interview about philosophy and science-fiction (video below) University of Glasgow
19 March 2015 ‘Perception and Reality: How to Resist the Argument from Illusion’ at Late Night Science: Illusion and Perception The Research Club, Glasgow
21 November 2014 The Hidden Senses: the secrets of taste and smell The Dana Centre, London
November 2014 ‘Taste and Smell: the hidden senses’ guest blog post Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities
26 September 2014 Exhibit at Glasgow Explorathon, part of European Researchers’ Night 2014 Glasgow Science Centre
September 2013 ‘Perception and Reality’, invited article for New Philosopher magazine New Philosopher

Philosophy and The Matrix

Philosophy, Science Fiction and the Matrix at the Glasgow Science FestivalAs part of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience’s activities at the Glasgow Science Festival 2015, I gave a short philosophical introduction to an outdoor screening of The Matrix at the University of Glasgow.

Prior to this introduction, the contents of which you can read here, I also gave this impromptu interview in which I talk more generally about philosophy, science fiction and The Matrix.



Wilson, K. A. (forthcoming), ‘Are the Senses Silent? Travis’s Argument from Looks’. In Charles Travis on Language, Thought, and Perception, T. Dobler and J. Collins (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, K. A. (2013), ‘Reid’s Direct Realism and Visible Figure’. The Philosophy Quarterly 63 (253), pp. 783–803. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9213.2013.02002.x.

Wilson, K. (2007), ‘Does attention exist?’. British Journal of Undergraduate Philosophy, 2 (2), pp. 153–68.

Book reviews

Wilson, K. A. (2014), Review of Charles Travis, Perception: Essays after Frege. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews April 2014.

General philosophy

Wilson, K. (2013), ‘Perception and Reality’. New Philosopher 1 (2), pp. 104–107.

See all publications

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