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  2. Dr Dan Cavedon-Taylor

Dr Dan Cavedon-Taylor

Profile summary

Professional biography

I started at the Open University in 2019, having previously held lectureships at the universities of Southampton, Oxford, and St Andrews, as well as a research fellowship in the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp.

I received my PhD in 2011 from the University of London. My thesis was at the intersection of aesthetics, social epistemology and philosophy of mind, and concerned the epistemic status of pictorial representation; in short: how we learn about the world through pictures, as opposed to direct perception or via the words of other people. My doctoral studies were supported by the inaugural British Society of Aesthetics PhD Studentship and a Royal Institute of Philosophy Jacobsen Fellowship. 

Following my PhD, most of my work has moved into the direction of the philosophies of mind, perception, psychology and psychiatry. I'm currently writing a book on mental imagery. 

Since 2012 I have served as Treasurer of the British Society of Aesthetics.

​I am very happy to hear from potential PhD applicants whose research alligns with my own. 


Research interests

Philosophy of mind 

I'm interested in all aspects of the workings of the mind, but find perception and mental imagery particularly fascinating. I've recently become interested in psychopathologies, especially depression and bipolar disorder, and the role that mental imagery has been found to play in their onset, maintenance and treatment. Other topics I've written about include:

  • The cognition/perception distinction
  • High-level perception
  • Indirect perception (i.e. perceiving X by perceiving Y)
  • Multimodal perception
  • Non-visual senses (especially touch and olfaction)

Naturally, my research on these topics is informed by work in psychology and neuroscience, in both experimental and clinical settings. 

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

I'm interested in the nature of pictures, both their aesthetic and epistemic/informational value, and, distinctly, aesthetic judgment and appreciation. Following on from my PhD, I've written a great deal about photographic pictures, and some of that work shades into social epistemology. For instance, I am currently researching the nature of deepfakes and editing a special issue of Synthese on this. The call for papers is here.

Other topics I've written about include:

  • Aesthetic and artistic virtues
  • Anti-empiricist and achievement-based accounts of aesthetic value

​In general, the more I do philosophy, the more I feel it important to work on topics of immediate social importance, like deepfakes and mental illness, and highly value the perspectives of other disciplines when tackling such issues.


Teaching interests

  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Mind and Psychology

Impact and engagement

Dan has featured on BBC News Channel programme Click where he was interviewed on the malicious use of fabricated, photorealistic images. He has also given public talks at art galleries and written for various blogs. 


Sensorimotor Expectations and the Visual Field (2021)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Synthese, 198 (pp. 3991-4006)

Mental imagery: pulling the plug on perceptualism (2021)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Philosophical Studies ((Early Access))

Untying the knot: imagination, perception and their neural substrates (2021)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Synthese ((Early Access))

“Categories of Art” at 50: An Introduction (2020)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 78(1) (pp. 65-66)

Arrangement and Timing: Photography, Causation and Anti-Empiricist Aesthetics (2020)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Ergo ((In Press))

Are the Psychophysical Laws Fine-Tuned? (2020)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion ((Early access))

Naïve Realism and the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception (2018-09)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Analytic Philosophy, 59(3) (pp. 391-412)

Odors, Objects and Olfaction (2018-01-01)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
American Philosophical Quarterly, 55(1) (pp. 81-94)

Touching Voids: On the Varieties of Absence Perception (2017-06)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 8(2) (pp. 355-366)

Reasoned and Unreasoned Judgement: On Inference, Acquaintance and Aesthetic Normativity (2017-02-20)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
The British Journal of Aesthetics, 57(1) (pp. 1-17)

Book review of The First Sense: A Philosophical Study of Human Touch, by Matthew Fulkerson, and Does Perception Have Content?, by Berit Brogaard (ed.) (2015-10)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
The Philosophical Quarterly, 65(261) (pp. 833-838)

Photographic Phenomenology as Cognitive Phenomenology (2015-04-16)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
The British Journal of Aesthetics, 55(1) (pp. 71-89)

Kind Properties and the Metaphysics of Perception: Towards Impure Relationalism (2015)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 96(4) (pp. 487-509)

Belief, Experience and the Act of Picture-Making (2014)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Philosophical Explorations, 17(1) (pp. 35-48)

Photographically Based Knowledge (2013-09)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Episteme, 10(3) (pp. 283-297)

Book review of The Aesthetic Mind: Philosophy and Psychology, by Elisabeth Schellekens and Peter Goldie (eds) (2013-01)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Mind, 122(485) (pp. 319-324)

Seeing and Retinal Stability (2013)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Philosophical Psychology, 26(2) (pp. 263-266)

The Space of Seeing-In (2011-07)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
The British Journal of Aesthetics, 51(3) (pp. 271-278)

Perceptual Content and Sensorimotor Expectations (2011-04)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
The Philosophical Quarterly, 61(243) (pp. 383-391)

In Defence of Fictional Incompetence (2010-06)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Ratio, 23(2) (pp. 141-150)

Still Epiphenomenal Qualia: Response to Muller (2009-03)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
Philosophia, 37(1) (pp. 105-107)

The Epistemic Status of Photographs and Paintings: A Response to Cohen and Meskin (2009)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 67(2) (pp. 230-235)

High-Level Perception and Multimodal Perception (2021-06-10)
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan
In: Logue, Heather and Richardson, Louise eds. Purpose and Procedure in Philosophy of Perception (pp. 147-173)
Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK