James is a current PhD student in the philosophy department at the University of Manchester. He is a recipient of a bursary from the university and is a recipient of the President's Doctoral Award scholarship. His undergraduate degree was in History & Philosophy and his masters was in Philosophy, both at the University of Sheffield.
James works in the philosophy of psychology. His thesis is trying to establish how should we understand character trait attribution as it exists in the domain of social cognition.
Supervisors: Dr. Joel Smith; Dr. Michael Scott.
"Character traits have seen much study in both virtue ethics and in moral psychology. However, character traits are also used as a tool to help us understand others generally in social situations, by attributing them to predict or to explain others' behaviour. E.g. Will she tip well in this restaurant? Yes, she is a generous person. / Why did she tip well in this restaurant? Because she is a generous person. As such, they form part of our 'folk psychology', our set of tools we use to understand others.
The thesis looks to explore how we should understand this capacity, and what relationship it bears to other 'folk psychological' capacities, particularly our ability to attribute mental states to others - to 'mindread'. The thesis draws heavily on both philosophical methodology and empirical material from the cognitive sciences."