Universiteit Leiden

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Machteld van der Vlugt

PhD candidate

M. van der Vlugt MA
+31 71 527 2031


My PhD-project (supervised by Dr. Frank Chouraqui and Dr. Jan Sleutels) focuses on the question whether and how enactivism can account for (the felt distinction between perceiving and) imagining. Enactivists have been challenging the contention that cognition can only be understood in terms of mental representations by positing instead that cognition should be understood in terms of ‘embodied act.’ Yet, they still don’t have a proper reply to those who concede that ‘embodied act’ may suffice for understanding basic cognition, like perception, but who are sceptic when it comes to understanding advanced cognition, like imagining, thinking, reasoning, etc. My suspicion is that this is because enactivists prioritize the individual (which interacts with the environment of course), i.e. they implicitly hold on to the classic assumption that cognition primarily takes place in the individual. In my research I want to develop an account of imagination that prioritizes the social. By putting social cognition before individual cognition I hope that I’m able to show that the problem of imagination (of enactivism) can be solved.

Curriculum vitae

MA Philosophy, Leiden University (2016); PhD, Delft University of Technology (2006); MSc Advanced Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology (1998), MSc Mechanical Engineering, Delft University of Technology (1995).
I worked as a project manager at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (1997 – 2001); as a PhD researcher at Delft University of Technology (2001 – 2006); as a research and development manager at the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (2006 – 2009); since 2009 I have worked as a patent examiner at the Netherlands Patent Office.

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte

Work address

P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Room number 2.03


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