Our Faculty

Michelle Maiese

Michelle Maiese

Chair, Department of Philosophy; Associate Professor of Philosophy


Contact Information

617 975-9365


Office Hours

Office: Administration Building, Room 451

Office hours: By appointment

Education

Ph.D., M.A., University of Colorado; B.A., Northwestern University


Bio

One of the reasons I love teaching is that it allows me to do interdisciplinary work and dabble in a wide range of subjects.

My areas of interest include philosophy of mind, emotion, philosophy of psychiatry, political philosophy, and feminist philosophy.

slideshowWhat I'm Working On


What I Love About Emmanuel:

I love the people, both faculty members and students, whom I get to work with on a daily basis.

Courses I Teach

  • PHIL1115 Recent Moral Issues
  • PHIL2104 Theories of Human Nature
  • PHIL 2106 Ethics
  • PHIL2101 Problems of Philosophy
  • PHIL3109 Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 3110 Philosophy of Psychiatry

Publications + Presentations

Embodied Selves and Divided Minds, Oxford University Press, January, 2016

Synopsis: This book examines how research in embodied cognition and enactivism can contribute to our understanding of the nature of self-consciousness, the metaphysics of personal identity, and the disruptions to self-awareness that occur in case of psychopathology. It begins with the assumption that if we take embodiment seriously, then the resulting conception of the self (as physically grounded in the living body) can help us to make sense of how a minded subject persists across time. Rather than relying solely on puzzle cases to discuss diachronic persistence and the sense of self, this work looks to schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder as case studies. Here we find real-life examples of anomalous phenomena that signify disruptions to embodied self-experience and appear to indicate a fragmentation of the self. However, rather than concluding that these disorders count as genuine instances of multiplicity, the book's discussion of the self and personal identity allows us to understand the characteristic symptoms of these disorders as significant disruptions to self-consciousness. The concluding chapter then examines the implications of this theoretical framework for the clinical treatment of schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder.


Embodiment, Emotion, and Cognition, Palgrave Macmillan, February, 2011

Synopsis: This book characterizes emotion as a paradigmatic form of embodied consciousness and highlights how emotion and affect, which are essentially bound up with our lived bodily experience, allow for effective decision-making, moral evaluation, social cognition, and the formation of a sense of self. It also attempts to make use of this account of embodiment and emotion to gain a better understanding of psychological impairments such as schizophrenia, psychopathy, and autism.


Embodied Minds in Action, co-authored with Robert Hanna, Oxford University Press, March, 2009

Synopsis: This book aims to provide a unified treatment of three fundamental philosophical problems: the mind-body problem, the problem of mental causation, and the problem of intentional action. We argue in favor of an account of the mind-body relation that views creatures like us as essentially embodied minds and holds that we intentionally move our own bodies through conscious desire and mental effort.


  • "Embodied Social Cognition, Participatory Sense-Making, and Online Learning," Social Philosophy Today, 2013.
    Synopsis: I argue that the asynchronous discussion format commonly used in online courses has little hope of bringing about transformative learning, and that this is because engaging with another as a person involves adopting a personal stance, comprised of affective and bodily relatedness. Interpersonal engagement ordinarily is fully embodied insofar as communication relies heavily on individuals' postures, gestures, and facial expressions. Subjects involved in face-to-face interaction can perceive others' desires and feelings on the basis of their expressions and movements, to which they become attuned by way of bodily resonance. To the extent that it involves asynchronous discussion and disembodied social engagement, online learning severs these interactive links between students.
  • "Moral Cognition, Affect, and Psychopathy," Philosophical Psychology, 2013.
    Synposis: Few theorists would challenge the idea that emotion directly influences decision-making and moral judgment. However, there is good reason to think that it also significantly assists in decision-making and moral judgment, and in fact is necessary for fully effective moral cognition. while the dual-process account of moral judgment set forth by Craigie (2011) moves us in the right direction, it fails to appreciate fully the extent to which affective and reflective processes are not only integrated, but also mutually interdependent. Evidence from psychopathy indicates that when reflective processes are not assisted adequately by what I will call 'affective framing', and moral cognition is of the "cooler,"less emotionally-informed variety, what results is not effective cognitive functioning, but rather psychopathology. The account of affective framing that I will propose aims to make sense of the way in which emotion plays a strictly necessary and integral role not just in intuitive moral responses, but also in reflective moral judgments. In my view,full-fledged moral cognition is accomplished by the joint operation of affective processes and reflective reasoning processes.
  • "Rethinking Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder," Philosophical Psychology, 2012.
    Synopsis: To gain a new perspective on ADHD, I appeal to the recent work of theorists who maintain that cognition is not simply a matter of what happens inside us via brain functioning, but rather involves the active engagement of the whole living body. What is impaired in ADHD is not simply an internal management system or set of executive functions, but rather the background bodily orientation subjects rely on as they interact with and actively make sense of their surroundings.
  • "Autism, Empathy, and Affective Framing," in The Philosophy of Autism, eds. Jami Anderson and Simon Cushing, 2012.
    Synopsis: According to theorists such as Simon Baron-Cohen, empathizing involves the ability to attribute mental states to others by applying a 'theory of mind' (ToM) and is brain-based. It is because autistics are lacking in a ToM that they are lacking in their capacity for empathy. But in my view, mentalizing is not the most powerful way of making sense of the social world, nor is it how empathy normally arises. Developing a fuller understanding of empathy requires that we focus more on the essentially embodied, emotive, enactive interaction processes involved in social cognition. To make sense of the way in which interpersonal understanding is essentially embodied, I maintain that our ability to interpret other people's actions, thoughts, feelings, and expressions largely depends largely on our capacity for bodily attunement and affective framing.
  • "The Power of Passion on Heartbreak Hill," in Running and Philosophy, ed. Michael Austin, Blackwell Publishing, October, 2007.
    Synopsis: This essay explores whether phenomenal consciousness, in particular the experience of emotion, has any causal power by considering whether it would be possible for an emotional zombie to run a marathon.
  • "Engaging the Emotions in Conflict Intervention," Conflict Resolution Quarterly, January, 2007.
    Synopsis: In this article, I maintain that because emotions are a central driving force behind "intractable" conflict, we need to develop conflict intervention strategies that acknowledge and change the emotional world of the adversaries.
  • "'Proventing' Terrorism: A Human Needs Approach," Dialogue, October, 2005.
    Synopsis: I argue against a "power political" approach to terrorism that regards coercion and punishment as adequate responses. Rather than focusing solely on attempts to coerce or control people or groups, we should also deal with the social conditions that tend to give rise to terrorism.

Research Focus

My research focuses on issues in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and the emotions. In particular, I am interested in the relationship between mind, brain, and body, the nature of psychopathology, and the integration of emotion and cognition.  My current research explores the fully embodied, enactive nature of the mind and aims to make sense of psychological disorders such as psychopathy, schizophrenia, and dissociative identity disorder.