• Director of Cognitive Science Minor, Philosophy
  • Professor, Philosophy

Research Statement

I am interested in the relation between sense perception and cognition, and how psychology and neuroscience can inform our philosophical theories of this relation. I am currently interested in the possibility of cognitive penetrability: the possibility that mental states like belief or desire may influence perceptual experience (how we see things, hear things, etc.), and the relevance of this (possible) phenomenon for epistemology and cognitive science. I am also interested in the differences and interaction between sense modalities--vision, audition, touch, and so on. 

Imagination plays an important role in our experiences of art, in the construction of theories, and in everyday reasoning. I am interested in philosophical and psychological accounts of our imaginative capacities, and how these capacities differ from other mental capacities.

Despite its importance to art, science, and ordinary problem solving, creativity is a relatively neglected research topic in philosophy and cognitive science. My research employs both traditional philosophical analysis and cognitive scientific methodologies in hopes of reviving research interest in creativity, and hopefully shedding light on a remarkable feature of human thought and behaviour.

Research Keywords

  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Epistemology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Aesthetics


  • Theory-ladenness, perceptual expertise, and epistemic virtue. Invited paper for session on Expertise, Annual Meeting of the Canadian Philosophical Association, Vancouver, BC, June 2019 . Conference Paper, Presented, 06/03/2019.
  • Visual artists and expertise, Annual Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Pre-Workshop meeting on Aesthetics and Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/25/2017.
  • Mental imagery and Fiction, 6th Annual Dubrovnik Conference on the Philosophy of Art, Inter-City University Centre, Dubrovnik Croatia. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/15/2017.
  • Invited paper, "Rich perceptual content and perceptual experience," Conference on Perception and the Arts: British Society of Aesthetics Connections Conference, Institute of Philosophy, London, September 2015. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/2015.
  • 'Towards a Consequentialist Understanding of Cognitive Penetration' Cognitive Science Society Annual Meeting, Annual Meeting, Berlin, Germany. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 08/2013.
  • 'Towards a Consequentialist Understanding of Cognitive Penetration' European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Annual Meeting, Granada, Spain. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 07/2013.
  • 'Towards a Consequentialist Understanding of Cognitive Penetration' Invited Lecturer, International Summer School in Cognitive Science and Semantics-Perception-Riga, Latvia. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 07/2013.
  • 'The dominance of the visual' Invited Plenary Speaker, Intermountain West Student Philosophy Conference, University of Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/21/2013.

Research Groups


  • Ivy, Spencer, Rohovit, Taren, Lavelle, Mark, Padilla, Lace, Stokes, Dustin, Stefanucci, Jeanine & Drew, Trafton (2021). Through the eyes of the expert: Evaluating holistic processing in architects through gaze-contingent viewing. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Vol. 1, 1-9. Published, 06/08/2021.
  • Dustin Stokes (2021). Thinking and Perceiving: On the malleability of the mind. Routledge. Published, 05/30/2021.
  • Dustin Stokes (2021). On Perceptual Expertise. Mind & Language. Published, 02/01/2021.
  • Dustin Stokes (2018). Attention and the cognitive penetrability of perception . Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Published, 05/01/2018.
  • Dustin Stokes (2018). Mental imagery and fiction. Canadian Journal of Philosophy. Accepted, 01/15/2018.
  • “Creativity and the imagination”, in A. Kind (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of the Imagination, London: Routledge (2016). Published, 02/01/2016.
  • “Towards a consequentialist understanding of cognitive penetration” in A. Raftopoulos and J. Ziembekis (eds) Cognitive penetrability, Oxford University Press. Published, 02/01/2015.
  • Perception and its Modalities, D. Stokes, S. Biggs, and M. Matthen (eds), New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming). Published, 10/01/2014.
  • “The dominance of the visual”, co-authored w/ Stephen Biggs, to appear in D. Stokes, S. Biggs, and M. Matthen (eds) Perception and its Modalities, New York: Oxford University Press (2014). Published, 10/01/2014.
  • “The role of imagination in creativity” to appear in E. Paul and S.B. Kaufman (eds) The Philosophy of Creativity, Oxford University Press (2014). Published, 06/01/2014.
  • 'Cognitive penetration and the perception of art' Dialectica, (forthcoming, 2014) Winner of 2012 Dialectica Essay Prize. Published, 03/01/2014.
  • “Cognitive penetrability of perception,” Philosophy Compass 8 (7):646-663 (2013). Published, 06/2013.
  • “Perceiving and Desiring: A New Look at the Cognitive Penetrability of Experience,” Philosophical Studies 158(3): 477-92 (2012). Published, 03/2012.
  • “Aesthetics and Cognitive Science,” Philosophy Compass 4: 715-33 (2009). Published, 06/2009.
  • “Incubated Cognition and Creativity,” Journal of Consciousness Studies 14: 83-100 (2007). Published, 08/2007.
  • “The Evaluative Character of Imaginative Resistance,” British Journal of Aesthetics 46: 347-405 (2006). Published, 10/2006.
  • “Art and Modal Knowledge,” in M. Kieran and D. Lopes (eds) Knowing Art: Essays in Epistemology and Aesthetics, Springer Press (2006). Published, 02/2006.