I’m a lecturer in philosophy of mind and cognition at the University of Edinburgh.
My research focuses on social cognition and in particular how we think about other people. It's clear that we're very good at understanding other people's behaviours and intentions, even people we've never met before, and I'm interested in understanding how we do it. I take a strong inter-disciplinary approach to this research and draw on work from developmental psychology and neuroscience to support philosophical ideas.
I have published on mirror-neurons: a subset of neurons which are active both when you engage in an action and when you perceive someone else engaging in that same action. These insights from neuroscience can inform philosophical theories of how we think about other people's thoughts, and how we explain other people's behaviours.
I also have an interest in the nature of explanation and am working on a series of papers with George Botterill which explore the potential of the contrastive model of explanation.
I'm an experienced lecturer at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, and I lecture in two of the University of Edinburgh's MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course): Introduction to Philosophy, and Philosophy and the Sciences. I am programme director of the UK's first online graduate course in philosophy, based here at Edinburgh. You can find out more about my online activities under eLearning
I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield (2011) under the supervision of George Botterill and Rob Hopkins. As a graduate student I was assistant to Stephen Laurence, director of the AHRC Culture and the Mind project, and the research outcomes of the fieldwork and project conferences continue to influence my thinking and teaching.
My email address is j.s.lavelle at ed.ac.uk. I have been working part-time since January 2018, so please be patient if I do not reply to your email straight away!
Although my full name is Jane Suilin Lavelle, the only person who uses that epithet is my mother when she’s particularly annoyed with me. To everyone else I’m Suilin.