Philosophy of Psychology
Department of Philosophy, Western University
I am a PhD student in the philosophy of cognitive neuroscience. I am also collaborating on a project with Rhodri Cusack, of the Brain and Mind Institute, surrounding methodological issues involved in the study of infant cognition. My research is focused on the scientific basis of executive functioning, consciousness, and the nature of self. I am interested in how the science of cognition can help inform these issues, as well as the possible ethical and legal implications that follow from a better and more nuanced understanding of human nature.
Before joining the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, I completed a joint honours BA in psychology and philosophy as well as an MA in philosophy at the University of Waterloo. While at the University of Waterloo, I was a research assistant in a developmental psychology lab under the supervision of Mathieu Le Corre, with a focus on the development of mathematical abilities in children. I also completed an honours thesis project in political psychology, where I conducted my own study on the motivations behind conservative ideologies under the supervision of Richard Eibach. My MA thesis involved addressing the problem of free will and moral responsibility skepticism, by assessing psychologically realistic accounts of cognitive control.
My current research addresses methodological issues involved in researching infant cognition. Infant cognition has most commonly been studied behaviourally, but recent advances in fMRI have made infant neuroimaging more readily available. These neuroimaging studies are beginning to find functional connectivity much earlier than anticipated based on what is expected given the results of infant behavioural studies. This functional connectivity found in infants is also similar to what is found during adult neuroimaging studies. I am interested in analyzing the strengths and limitations of both behavioural and neuroimaging studies on infant cognition, and what implications this might have on extrapolating about the inner lives of infants.
In Defense of Moral Responsibility Skepticism. University of Waterloo. 2015 (Supervisor Mathieu Doucet).
Conference Presentations and Commentaries:
Tomchishen, J. Commentary on “Immoral Deference” by Joey Van Weeldon. PGSA 2014, University of Waterloo.
Tomchishen, J. Commentary on “Attention, Action, and Selection for Action” by Aaron Henry. PhilMiLCog 2016, UWO.
Tomchishen, J. Commentary on “Mind the Gap: Continuity Skepticism Revisited” by Brandon Tinklenberg. PhilMiLCog 2016, UWO.
Fall 2013, Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Values, University of Waterloo. (Teaching Assistant)
Winter 2014, Professional and Business Ethics, University of Waterloo. (Teaching Assistant)
Spring 2014, Introduction to Cognitive Science (Online), University of Waterloo. (Teaching Assistant)
Fall 2014, Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality (Online), University of Waterloo. (Teaching Assistant)
Winter 2015, Professional and Business Ethics, University of Waterloo. (Teaching Assistant)
Spring 2015, Accounting Ethics, University of Waterloo. (Teaching Assistant)
Fall/Winter 2015-2016, Critical Thinking, University of Western Ontario. (Teaching Assistant)