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Dr Nicholas Shea

Principal Investigator, ERC project on Metacognition of Concepts

Professor of Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, University of London [personal webpage] 

Research Interests

Philosophy of psychology and cognitive science
Philosophy of mind
Theories of representational content
Inheritance systems

Career & Education

PhD in Philosophy, King’s College, London
Barrister, Intellectual property litigation
BA in Mathematics 

Shea, Nicholas, pic, small


On Millikan, Wadsworth, 2004


Shea, N., Boldt, A., Bang, D., Yeung, N., Heyes, C. and Frith, C. D. (2014) 'Supra-personal cognitive control and metacognition', Trends in Cognitive Sciences 18(4), pp. 186-193 [open access link]

Shea, N. (forthcoming), 'Neural signalling of probabilistic vectors', Philosophy of Science [pre-print pdf]

Shea, N. (forthcoming), 'Representational development need not be explicable-by-content', in Vincent C. Muller (ed.) Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence (Springer: Synthese Library) [pre-print pdf]

Shea, N. (2014), 'Exploitable isomorphism and structural representation', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 64(2) [pre-print pdf]

Powell, R. & Shea, N. (2014), 'Homology across inheritance systems', Biology and Philosophy [pre-print pdf] [link] 


Shea, N. (2013), 'Naturalising representational content', Philosophy Compass, 8(5), pp. 496-509 [open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2012), 'Reward prediction error signals are meta-representational', Nous [open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2012), 'New thinking, innateness and inherited representation', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367, pp. 2234-44 [open access pdf] [link] 

Shea, N. (2012), ‘Methodological Encounters with the Phenomenal Kind’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 84(2), pp. 307-344 [open access pdf] [link] 

Shea, N. (2012), 'Genetic representation explains the cluster of innateness-related properties', Mind & Language, 27(4), pp. 466-493 [open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2013), 'Inherited Representations are Read in Development', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 64(1), pp. 1-31 [open access pdf] [link]

Mars, R.B.*, Shea, N.J.*, Kolling, N. and Rushworth, M.F.S. (2012). ‘Model-based analyses: Promises, pitfalls, and example applications to the study of cognitive control’, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(2), pp. 252-267 (* joint first authors) [open access pdf] [link]


Shea, N. (2013), 'Using phenomenal concepts to explain away the intuition of contingency', Philosophical Psychology [pre-print pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (forthcoming), ‘Two Modes of Transgenerational Information Transmission’, in B. Calcott et al. (eds.) Signaling, Commitment, and Emotion (MIT Press) [pre-print pdf]

Shea, N. (2013), 'Millikan's Isomorphism Requirement', in D. Ryder, J. Kingsbury & K. Williford (eds.) Millikan and Her Critics (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell) [pre-print pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (forthcoming), 'Distinguishing Top-Down From Bottom-Up Effects', in S. Biggs, M. Matthen and D. Stokes (eds.), Perception and Its Modalities (OUP) [pre-print pdf]

Shea, N. (forthcoming), 'Neural mechanisms of decision-making and the personal level', in KWM Fulford, M Davies, G Graham, J Sadler, G Stanghellini and T Thornton (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (OUP) [pre-print pdf]


Shea, N. (2011), 'Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim About Inherited Information',Philosophy of Science 78, pp. 60-82 [open access pdf] [link] 

Shea, N., Pen, I., Uller, T. (2011), ‘Three epigenetic information channels and their different roles in evolution’, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24, pp. 1178-87 [open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2011), ‘What's Transmitted?  Inherited Information.’ Biology & Philosophy 26(2), pp. 183-189 [pre-print pdf] [link] [target article]

Shea, N. (2011), 'New concepts can be learned', review essay on Susan Carey, The Origin of Concepts (OUP, 2009), Biology & Philosophy 26, 129-139 [pre-print pdf] [link]

Shea, N. and Bayne, T. (2010), ‘The Vegetative State and the Science of Consciousness’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61, 459-484 [open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. and Heyes, C. (2010) ‘Metamemory as evidence of animal consciousness: the type that does the trick’, Biology & Philosophy 25, 95-110 [open access pdf] [link]


Shea, N., (2009) ‘Imitation as an inheritance system’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364, 2429-2443 [pre-print pdf] [published pdf]

Shea, N., Krug, K. and Tobler, P.N., (2008) ‘Conceptual representations in goal-directed decision making’, Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 8(4), 418-428 [published pdf] [link] [journal doi]

Shea, N. (2007) ‘Consumers Need Information: supplementing teleosemantics with an input condition’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 75(2), 404-435 [pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2007) ‘Content and Its Vehicles in Connectionist Systems’, Mind & Language, 22(3), 246-269 [pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2007) ‘Representation in the genome and in other inheritance systems’ Biology and Philosophy, 22, 313-331 [pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2006) 'The Biological Basis of Cultural Transmission', review of Kim Sterelny, Thought in a Hostile World (Blackwell, 2003), British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57, 259-266 [pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2006) ‘Millikan’s Contribution to Materialist Philosophy of Mind’ (in French translation) Matière Première, Vol. 1, Feb 2006, pp. 127-156 [pdf]

Shea, N. (2003) ‘Does Externalism Entail the Anomalism of the Mental?’, Philosophical Quarterly, 53, 201–213 [pdf] [link] [Jstor]

Shea, N. (2002), 'Getting Clear About Equivocal Concepts: Critical Review of Millikan's on Clear and Confused Ideas', Disputatio 13, pp. 34-47 [unedited draft]

Papineau, D. and Shea, N. (2002) 'Ruth Millikan's On Clear and Confused Ideas', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65(2), pp. 453-466 [pdf] [link]

Short Reviews

Shea, N. (2013) 'Perception vs. Action: the computations may be the same but the direction of fit differs', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36(3), pp. 228-9 [pre-print pdf] 

Shea, N. (2011), 'Acquiring a new concept is not explicable-by-content', Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34(3), pp. 148-149  [pre-print pdf] [pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2009) ‘Review of R. G. Millikan, Varieties of Meaning’, Philosophical Review, 118(1), pp. 127 - 130 [pre-print pdf]

Shea, N. (2005), 'Varieties of Meaning: The 2002 Jean Nicod Lectures by Ruth Millikan', Quarterly Review of Biology, 80(3), p. 344 [link]

Shea, N. (2003), 'Functions in Mind by Carolyn Price', Philosophical Quarterly, 53, pp. 129-132 [link]

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