Cecily Whiteley

Cecily Whiteley


  • KY16 9AL

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

Personal profile


I joined the department in 2023. Before this I was an Isaac Newton Career Development Fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow and Director of Studies of Magdalene College, Cambridge. I received my PhD from the London School of Economics in 2022. During my doctoral studies I also spent a year at NYU’s Centre for Mind, Brain and Consciousness.

Research interests

My main research interests are in the philosophy and metaphysics of mind, philosophy of science, and the philosophy of psychiatry. I also have secondary research interests in metaphysics. For the most part, I work at the intersection of these areas. The topics I’m currently most interested in are:

  • Consciousness Science: can science explain consciousness? If so, how should consciousness science be structured so as to achieve this? What would a neurobiological explanation of consciousness look like?
  • Wakefulness, Sleep, Dreaming, and Levels of Consciousness: What does it mean to be awake? What happens when we dream? What sorts of changes to conscious experience occur when one enters an 'altered' state of consciousness like a psychedelic or meditative state? Is there such a thing as a ‘level of consciousness’? What does it mean to say consciousness is disordered?
  • Philosophy of Psychiatry: I’m most interested in the nature of depression and schizophrenia. I’ve previously argued that we should take the view that depression involves an altered state of consciousness seriously as a scientific hypothesis. However, I'm also interested in the nature of psychiatric classification more broadly (for example, what the proliferation of psychiatric diagnoses means for the validity of these as scientific categories) and the nature and mechanisms of psychotherapy.
  • Natural Kinds: what makes some classificatory schemes better than others? Is there a metaphysical difference between natural and social kinds? What is the contribution of the mind to our experience and classification of the world around us?

I welcome enquiries from prospective research students seeking supervision in areas of study relating to these research interests.

Profile Keywords

Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of Psychiatry


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