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Dr Elizabeth Irvine

Dr Elizabeth Irvine

Senior Lecturer

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 (0)29 2087 4505
1.41, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am part of the School's Philosophy team. Check my bio for research interests.

My personal website, with more up to date news, talks, and engagement activities, is here:


My main interests are in philosophy of cognitive science and psychology, philosophy of neuroscience, and philosophy of science (particularly philosophy of biology). I studied for my masters in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and got my PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. From 2011-2013 I was a post-doc in Philosophy of Neuroscience at the University of Tuebingen, at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN). From 2013-2014 I was a post-doc at ANU working on the evolution of language on Kim Sterelny’s ‘Signs to Symbols’ project. I joined the Philosophy Department at the Cardiff University as a lecturer in September 2014.

I started by working on various aspects of methodology in consciousness science, coming to an eliminativist conclusion about the concept of consciousness in scientific research. This was the topic of my PhD thesis, and was published as a book in 2012. I’m still doing some work in this area, mainly on methodological problems related to introspection.

I’m also interested in modelling and simulation methods in cognitive science and biology, particularly at the roles of robustness and computational templates in modelling strategies and explanatory practices. I co-won the 2016 Karl Popper prize for my paper ‘Model-based theorising in cognitive neuroscience’.

My main project at the minute is on the evolution (origins) of language. I’ve challenged assumptions about the role of iconicity and gesture in the evolution of (proto)-language by drawing on developmental and comparative evidence and what it takes to be a ‘symbol user’. I’m doing some experimental work on the role of deictic gestures (e.g. pointing) in language evolution (on Minecraft!). I’m also looking at more conceptual questions about the code or non-code like nature of language, pragmatics and meaning, level of co-operation in communication, and how this ties into claims about requirements for mind-reading in language use. Related to this interest, I’m a member of the Cardiff University Language and Cognition Research Network.





  • Irvine, E. 2018. Simulation in computational neuroscience. In: Sprevak, M. and Colombo, M. eds. The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind. London and New York: Routledge
  • Irvine, E. 2018. When is a code not a code. Presented at: 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language. Evolang 12, Torun, Poland, 15 - 19 April 2018The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang12). Evolang 12 Organizing Committee pp. 168-170., (10.12775/3991-1)
  • Colombo, M., Irvine, E. and Stapleton, M. eds. 2018. Andy Clark and his critics. Oxford University Press.
  • Irvine, E. and Sprevak, M. 2018. Eliminativism about consciousness. In: Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press










I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

UG courses taught or co-taught: Critical Thinking, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology of Experiment, Philosophy of Communication, Philosophy of Psychology, Animal Minds

PG courses taught: Philosophy of Evolution: Mind and Society, Science of Consciousness, Mental Architectures, Explaining Consciousness, Decision Making: Models, Mechanisms and Levels, Consciousness and Cognition

My main interests are in  philosophy of cognitive science and psychology, philosophy of neuroscience, and philosophy of science (particularly philosophy of biology).

Within this is a  big focus on scientific methodology, and how this impacts how philosophers can  and should interact with empirical work.

Research interests

  • philosophy of  psychology and neuroscience
  • philosophy of mind
  • philosophy of science
  • philosophy of biology


I am interested in supervising PhD students in Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science, particularly related to scientific methodology, including e.g. measurement, theory building and scientific concepts, natural kinds, modelling and simulation, etc, either in general or as applied to a specific topic.

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