photo by Michelle Doherty 2014

photo by Michelle Doherty 2014

Hi, I’m Madeleine Ransom, a PhD candidate in my fourth year at the Philosophy Department of the University of British Columbia. My main research interests lie in the¬†Philosophy of Cognitive Science, the Philosophy of Perception and Aesthetics.

My doctoral research has been funded for the past three years by a SSHRC Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship, and will be funded this coming year by an ASA Dissertation Fellowship.

Here is the abstract for my dissertation:

What does the expert have that the novice does not? One component of expertise may be perceptual, involving a change in what we are able to perceive. Experts develop the ability to taste some subtle flavors of a wine, or hear minute variations in pitch imperceptible to the novice. More controversially, they see moves on a chessboard, or that something is a pileated woodpecker or a Picasso. In this dissertation I defend the perceptual expertise thesis: through perceptual learning experts come to perceive high-level properties imperceptible to novices. This provides the foundation needed for a theory of aesthetic perception, and reconciles a puzzle in aesthetic concerning our critical practices.