Philosophy of Mind, Psychology and Psychiatry  Research Cluster

The Philosophy of Mind, Psychology, and Psychiatry cluster brings together philosophers working on all aspects of the mind. Tightly enmeshed with the cutting edge sciences of the mind, the cluster’s interdisciplinary research engages with work at the forefront of current psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience.  

a brain

The cluster interconnects with contemporary psychiatry to help us understand the nature of mental health. What is mental health? Are delusions beneficial? How should we act toward people who have mental disabilities? And what does it mean for a mind to ‘malfunction’?

The cluster also focuses on how to integrate perceptual psychology with philosophy.  I see. But how do I see? What is vision, and how does it work? Is colour a feature of the world around us, or is it a construct of our minds? As well as analysing the work of psychologists from a philosophical point of view, the cluster works directly with psychologists in constructing new scientific experiments to increase our understanding of how we see.

These heavily scientifically informed interests are complimented by work on the nature of the mind at the most abstract metaphysical level. Is the mind a part of nature and, if so, in what sense? What is consciousness? How does it fit into the scientific picture of the world? How should we categorise mental faculties, and how do those groupings interact with how we normally, pre-theoretically think about our minds?

Postgraduate study

For postgraduates interested in studying programmes or modules in these areas of philosophy, we offer the following taught MAs:

Our combined research and taught Philosophy MRes programme also includes modules in philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science and epistemology, and those wishing to conduct pure research in the field may register for the Philosophy PhD programme.

We have a number of postgraduate researchers interested in ethics and philosophy of religion at Birmingham (for more information about their research projects, see our PG research page). All of our postgraduate students benefit from the academic strengths of our research clusters and are often co-supervised by our Distinguished Research Professors and members of staff from associated clusters across the College of Arts and Law, so that they have access to different perspectives on their research topic. If you are interested in doing postgraduate research in ethics at Birmingham, please feel free to contact our Director of Research Admissions, Dr Maja Spener (

Supervisors in philosophy of mind, psychology and psychiatry

Professor Lisa Bortolotti

Professor Lisa Bortolotti

Professor of Philosophy

  • Philosophy of psychology
  • Philosophy of psychiatry
  • Philosophy of medicine
  • Empirically informed philosophy of mind
  • Epistemology
  • Biomedical ethics


Dr Chiara Brozzo

Assistant Professor in Philosophy

I work primarily in philosophy of cognitive science (including philosophy of psychology, empirically-informed philosophy of action and philosophy of psychiatry) and in aesthetics. My research in philosophy of cognitive science is about how we get things done (or fail to do so), and one of the main questions I investigate is: what drives or motivates our actions? I am therefore interested in ...

Dr Darragh Byrne

Dr Darragh Byrne

Lecturer in Philosophy

  • Reference
  • Consciousness (especially semantic and epistemic issues)
  • First-person knowledge
  • A priori knowledge
  • Objectivity, realism and anti-realism
  • Rule-following and the normativity of meaning

Dr Maja Spener

Associate Professor in Philosophy

  • Philosophy of mind and psychology
  • A range of areas in epistemology (especially self-knowledge, perceptual justification and knowledge, and disagreement)

Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Dr Ema Sullivan-Bissett

Reader in Philosophy

  • Philosophy of mind and psychology
  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of biology

Dr Henry Taylor

Dr Henry Taylor

Associate Professor

  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Philosophy of psychology

Current and recent research projects