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Public Appearances

Here are some of my recent public appearances at international workshops and conferences. 

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International Conference on Pretend Play and E-Cognition

19-20 September 2019
University of Antwerp

This conference explored if and how E-Cognition theories, which aim to understand cognition through the interplay between the brain processes, bodily capacities and environmental contexts, can improve our understanding of pretend, imaginative and creative practices. It addressed newest developments in philosophical theories of E-Cognition in the field of pretense and imagination, as well as latest empirical studies on pretend and creative forms of play from psychological research.

Organised by yours truly. Check out the website !


Play and Democracy

26 June 2019
Prague, Czech Republic

"Can role-playing be wrong?" With this title, I ask if pretend play is ever to be evaluated through (political) norms. Enactive cognitive science might provide some new insight on this topic. To Enactivists, play is not a 'mirror of reality' that represents social rules; it is a negotiation of and an exploration of possibilities for action. Pretend play, I argued, is not in itself normatively right or wrong. But as it is always contextual, it can still be open for normative evaluation.
For more information on the conference, see their website.


E-sports, Virtual Reality and Pretense

17 April 2019
McMinnville, OR, USA

In this public lecture, I argued that virtual reality (VR), a form of engagement with computer-generated virtual environments, has extended fast to sports. I classify VR training and E-sports as virtual sport practices. Now, even if VR training is seen as a way to improve skills in the real world (which include ‘real’ sports), the legitimacy of E-sports as genuine sport is contested as to whether they include 'physical skill' and 'strategic use of the body,' which are deemed necessary for real sports. An interesting problem arises when we play an E-Sports game: are we genuinely and 'fully immersed' in the virtual reality we are experiencing? Are we rather “quarantining” the ‘pretend for the real world?

Traditional views, such as fictionalism, argue for the latter, often advancing a representational view of pretense that sets up intermediary mental stand-ins that represent fictions. In this talk I argued for an alternative that precisely emphasizes the physical factor: an embodied and enactive view of cognition ­­for which our lived body, not just our brain or intellect, is central to our intelligent engagements with the world. 

This approach to pretense sheds new light on our understanding of VR engagements. It argues that these involve actual immersion in and interaction with the virtual environment, as well as bodily engagements with a distinct phenomenology.

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The European Society for Philosophy and Psychology

Rijeka, Croatia
10-13 September 2018

At the 26th Conference of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology I led the international symposium called "Making things up: Pretending, Fabricating, and Confabulating. Interdisciplinary and Contextual Analysis." With Monika Chylinska, Krystyna Bielecka, Adrianna Smurzynska and Piotr Litwin.


International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS)

Norwegian School of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway
5-8 September 2018

At the 46th Annual Conference of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS) organised by Kenneth Aggerholm, I contributed a talk on the role of embodiment for virtual reality training and e-sport, called "Is the expertise gained in virtual sport practices pretend or real?"


World Congress of Philosophy: Learning to be Human

Beijing, China
13-20 August 2018

At the 24th World Congress of Philosophy I gave a talk 'Integrating Enactivism to Cognitive Science' at the section for contributed papers in Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience. With Shaun Gallagher, Karsten Struhl, Roger Ames and 7000 others

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Virtual, real, fictional or ludic?

IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
23-25 June 2018

Workshop on virtual reality and fictions organized by the ERC Advanced Grant "Making Sense of Games", Center for Computing Games Research. With Espen Aarseth, David Chalmers, Pawel Grabarczyk, Mark Silcox and others.


Understanding Social Cognition

Catholic University of Lublin, Poland 
20-22 October 2017

I had the distinct pleasure to converse with Daniel Dennett at a special symposium dedicated to his book 'From Bacteria to Bach and Back. The Evolution of Minds'.
Photograph: courtesy of Justin Audet.


Instituting Minds

Senate House, London, UK
10-11 July 2014

As part of the TESIS project, I have co-organised an end-of-the-project conference from start to finish; from inviting fantastic speakers to hosting them on the boat tour of the River Thames in London. The results can be viewed on our special website.


Video interview with UOWTV

1 June 2014

Upon visiting the University of Wollongong, the local student TV crew made an interview about my work. Courtesy of Bragg, Jon and Ben Mitchell. “Imagination & pretence, more than just child's play”. YouTube, uploaded by UOWTV Multimedia, 1 June 2014. Click on the link below to watch the film on Youtube.

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Interview with Horizon magazine

8 May 2014

Horizon, The EU research and Innovation Magazine, has interviewed me for their piece on latest research on communicating with newborns. Click on the link below to access the full article. Courtesy of Den Deighton.


Sport Psychology and Embodied Cognition

Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
24-28 February 2014

Organised by Max Cappucio at the United Arab Emirate University, the 1st International Conference on Sport Psychology and Embodied Cognition explored important points of connection between the empirical studies of sport psychology and the embodied approach to the cognitive sciences. To see my talk on enactive creativity, see the link below.

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