About Me

orangsI’m a philosopher and cognitive scientist who studies the nature and origins of uniquely human forms of cognition and culture. I write philosophy papers and also conduct empirical studies on the communicative abilities of human children, non-human great apes, and domestic dogs.

At the beginning of 2020 I will take up a Future Leaders Fellowship position in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. My interdisciplinary Communicative Mind research group will investigate the relationship between ‘Theory of Mind’ and communication in ontogeny, phylogeny, and in human history. We’ll set out to explain both why humans are the only species that uses language, and how our species came to be able to think about mental states in ways that no other species does.

Between October 2013 and September 2019 I was a Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. Until October 2013 I held a similar position in Mike Tomasello’s Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology at the MPI-EVA in Leipzig. Between October and December 2019 I will be collaborating with the Frühkind Potsdam research group on a project about children’s developing understanding of objectivity.

The picture above features four orang-utans who live at the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Centre in Leipzig (L-R): Bimbo, Tanah carrying Sari, and Suaq. The picture was taken by Charlotte Bröcker.

You can read an interview with me here.