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Penelope Orr

PhD thesis

Self-Awareness and Meta-Cognition of Emotion


Research interests

Philosophy of mind; philosophy of psychology; cognitive science. 

Current research

My question is this: how do we recognise and categorise our own emotional states? I would like to develop an account of the cognitive processes that facilitate self-awareness, particularly, of our own emotions. Is it the case that self-awareness necessarily requires the use of mental state concepts in thoughts about one’s own mind, or is it possible that non-propositional, procedural, knowledge plays an important role in the way we monitor and control our own emotional states? By addressing these questions, I hope to develop and defend a new theory of introspection. These issues have important ramifications for our understanding of the role of mental representations in our cognitive architecture. Additionally, my work will provide a new perspective on more traditional debates about whether emotions are characterised by their intentional or phenomenal properties, by providing a model of which of these properties our cognitive processes are most sensitive to when representing our emotions. 

Other information

My PhD has been very generously funded through the Presidents Doctoral Scholarship and the AHRC. My MA (Distinction) is from The University of Sheffield, and my BA (First-Class) is from The University of Edinburgh.

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