Graduate Coursework


In Specialization: 

Neuroscience, Brain Development & Learning; Hilary Gerstein Fall 2018 Agent Architectures; Lisa Miracchi Spring 2018 Mind in Nature;Gary Hatfield Spring 2017 Theoretical Neuroscience; Vijay Balasubramanian Spring 2017 Philosophy and Visual Perception, Gary Hatfield Fall 2016 Foundations of Social-Cognitive Neuroscience; Martha Farah Spring 2016 Contemporary Research in Cognitive Neuroscience; Hilary Gerstein Fall 2016 Topics in Philosophy of Mind: Artificial Intelligence; Lisa Miracchi Spring 2016 Aristotle’s Psychology; Andree Hahmann Fall 2016 Topics in Philosophy of Mind: Emotion; Lisa Miracchi Fall 2015 Philosophy of Psychology; Gary Hatfield Spring 2015 Philosophical Implications of Social Psych; Tamar Gendler Fall 2012 


Out of Specialization: 

Plato on Pleasure; Susan Meyer Spring 2017 Rationality: Having Reasons; Errol Lord Spring 2016 Rationality: Expertise; Alex Guerrero Fall 2015 Social Norms; Cristina Bicchieri Spring 2015 Formal Logic; Daniel Singer Spring 2015 Topics in History of Philosophy: Early Modern; Karen Detlefsen Fall 2014 Proseminar; Daniel Singer Fall 2014 Ethics in Literature; Stephen Carter Fall 2013 Criminal Law and Administration; Gideon Yaffe Fall 2013 Convicting the Innocent; Steven Duke Fall 2013 Personal Identity; Kenneth Winkler Spring 2013 Responsibility in Morality and Law; Facuno Alonso Spring 2013 Criminal Law; Jeb Rubenfeld Spring 2013 Justice; Bruce Ackerman Fall 2012 Book of Job & Injustice; Robert Burt Fall 2012 Agency and the Law; Facundo Alonso Spring 2012

Introduction to Transnational Law; Oona Hathaway & Scott Shapiro Spring 2012 Introduction to Philosophy of Law; Scott Shapiro Spring 2012 Torts; Jules Coleman Fall 2011 Civil Procedure; Pamela Karlan Fall 2011 Contracts; Ian Ayers Fall 2011 Constitutional Law; Akhil Amar Fall 2011 


Prof. Konrad Kording UPenn, Neuro/Psych  Prof. Gary Hatfield UPenn, Philosophy Prof. Lisa Miracchi UPenn, Philosophy Prof. John Krakauer Johns Hopkins, Neuro Prof. Hilary Gerstein UPenn, Neuro/Psych Prof. Gideon Yaffe Yale, Law/Philo/Psych Prof. Jim Silk Yale, Law

Academic Service


University of Pennsylvania 

Indian Philosophy Reading Group, Co-Organizer 2019 Admitted Student Weekend Coordinator 2018 Philosophy & Engagement Conference, Co-Organizer 2016 


Yale Law School 

Yale Journal of International Law, Member 2013 Yale Law Human Rights Workshop, Member 2012-2013 


The Factivity and Nomicity of Information

Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology

Neural Dynamics and Inner Representations

SUNY Potsdam conference on Philosophy of Psychology

Weakness of Will, Resolutions, and Desires

The Philosopher's Cocoon Conference


Natural Information, Factivity and Nomicity

Dynamic, Generative Bases of Cognition

Neural Codes and Cognitive Representations (with Ben Lansdell)

The "Body" and Embodied Cognition


University of Pennsylvania 

As Primary Instructor 

Philosophy and Visual Perception Spring, 2020 Introduction to Philosophy Fall 2019 Ethics Spring 2019 Introduction to Philosophy Summer2018 

As Assistant 

Introduction to Philosophy, Gary Purpura Summer 2019 Eye, Mind, and Image; Gary Hatfield & Michael Leja Spring 2017 Mind and Language; Lisa Miracchi Fall 2016 Justice, Law and Morality; Samuel Freeman Spring 2016 Ethics; Errol Lord Fall 2015 


Yale University 

As Assistant, Existentialism; Scott Edgar Spring 2013


University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., Philosophy 2020 Social, Cognitive, & Affective Neuroscience, Graduate Certificate  Center for Teaching and Learning, Teaching Certificate 

MindCORE, Graduate Affiliate 

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Graduate Student

Dissertation: “Cognition in Nature” – on how cognition arises from  

the informational and dynamic structure of brain, body, and environment. 

Advisors: Gary Hatfield, Lisa Miracchi 

Yale University Law School, J.D. 2014 SAW Paper (Thesis): “Less Than Murder” - Advisor: Gideon Yaffe 

On the reduction to manslaughter for provoked homicide 

Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic – Advisor: Jim Silk 

Inquiry and advocacy concerning child-marriage in Sierra Leone

Brown University, B.A. 2010 Concentrations: Philosophy (Honors thesis), Economics


University of Pennsylvania Department of Neuroscience 2020 Provost Postdoctoral Fellow at Kordinglab 

Dissertation Abstract

Cognition is standardly taken to involve entities with semantic properties, such as intentions and representations of objects. Cognition is also standardly thought to arise primarily, if not solely in  virtue of something that nervous systems do. However, it remains an ongoing, evolving  controversy both (i) what is the general structure of these neural activities that makes them give rise  to cognition and (ii) in what sense they “give rise to” cognition. My dissertation defends an original  view of how cognition arises from the dynamics of brain, body, and environment. 

One common idea is that the information transmitted to, in, and from a functioning brain  determines the content of cognition. I challenge a prevailing account of natural information, defend  an alternative one, and argue that information is insufficient to determine the semantic properties  of cognition. Another widespread thought is that cognition is constituted by the coordinated activity  of lower-level (neural) components, in the sense that parts of a mechanism together constitute the  mechanism. I show that this view fails to reconcile the way the non-neural body and environment  help give rise to cognitive activity and the way that activity is attributable to an embodied agent,  i.e., the cognizer. Drawing on principles from from dynamic systems modeling and generative  difference-making relations, I account for the cognizer’s body as a higher-order feature of a  dynamic, brain-body-environment system. Then I articulate a notion of learning in terms of the way  brain-body-environment dynamics can support processes of functional adaption, allowing for the  robustness and refinement of the body’s goal-directed activities over a range of environmental  conditions. I argue that such a learning ability can determine the intentional properties associated  with cognitive states, explaining the sense in which cognition is generally about things. Thus, I offer  an account of the cognizer as a dynamically generated, embodied learner. In so doing, I resolve a deep  puzzle about how thoughts are intentional entities and yet occur in virtue of the physical workings  of the embodied beings whose thoughts they are