Gerardo Viera

Lecturer

Department of Philosophy

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Profile image of Gerardo Viera
g.viera@sheffield.ac.uk

Full contact details

Gerardo Viera
Department of Philosophy
45 Victoria Street
Sheffield
S3 7QB
Profile

Gerardo is a Philosopher of Cognitive Science, who arrived at the University of Sheffield in the Autumn of 2020. Gerardo is interested mainly in what the mind is, how it relates to the world around us, and the various scientific and theoretical strategies that we might take towards answering these question. Before coming to Sheffield, Gerardo was a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp. Prior to this, Gerardo received his PhD in philosophy from the University of British Columbia.

Research interests

Gerardo has a number different research topics which are explained below, in his own words.

THE APPARENT UNITY OF TIME. We gather information about time through all of our sensory systems, yet the world strikes us as containing a single unified and coherent temporal ordering of events. That is, the world appears to have a single unified timeline. Why does the world appear this way? In order to explain this apparent unity we need a story of how temporal information is integrated across the various timekeeping mechanisms used in perception. However, we simply don’t have a story of this integration. In this project, I try and make some progress on this issue.

INFORMATION THEORY AND MENTAL REPRESENTATION. How do neural states and processes come to represent the world? I think we can answer this question by utilizing a novel version of the signaling game framework that combines information theory with game theory. However, in developing my account, I argue that we should think of signals as playing a primarily a "coordinating" role rather than a "communicative" role. Representations are possible even when "information does not flow through the system".

KINDS AND TAXONOMIES IN COGNITIVE SCIENCE. How is the mind structured? Does it have parts? I think that there is no single true way of describing the mind’s structure. Instead, I think we need to adopt a form of “promiscuous realism” as it was developed in the philosophy of biology in order to describe the structure of the mind in a way that respects the variety of explanatory projects within the cognitive sciences.

THE SELF IN TIME. How do we get the sense that we are individuals with pasts and futures? How do we get the sense that we are individuals that persist in time? The classic answer appealed to our capacity for episodic memory. However, there are number of problems with grounding our sense of the self in our capacities for episodic memory. In this project, I try and argue that our other capacities for being aware of time, along with general purpose cognitive capacities, allow us to gain a sense of ourselves as individuals in time.

Publications

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Viera G & Nanay B (2020) Temporal Mental Imagery, The Cambridge Handbook of the Imagination (pp. 227-240). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests

Gerardo teaches UG and PG modules in Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, and Cognitive Science. Gerardo also teaches as part of the Cognitive Studies MA program and is happy to supervise MA and PhD students in all areas of the Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Science.