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Becko Copenhaver

Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology
Director of Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy
PhD, Cornell University
research interests:
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Aesthetics
  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Perception
  • Philosophy of Memory
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1073
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Professor Copenhaver's main area of research is the philosophy of mind, particularly perception and memory, with special attention to modern British theories of mind, including those of Thomas Reid, George Berkeley, and John Locke.

    She is a co-author (with Brian P. Copenhaver) of From Kant to Croce: Modern Philosophy in Italy 1800–1950 (Toronto University Press, 2012), and of a number of articles on modern British theories of mind. She is co-editor of a 6-volume History of the Philosophy of Mind, published by Routledge, with Christopher Shields.

    Her current research includes a book on Thomas Reid’s science of mind, as well as a number of projects aimed at showing that the development of our perceptual abilities is best explained in terms of perceptual learning, rather than, for example, cognitive permeation (also called cognitive penetration). Philosophers have typically understood the kinds of changes she has described either as results of a cognitive process — such as inference or belief — or as a kind of cognitive permeation, where inferences or beliefs alter the contents of perception. By contrast, she adopts a model of perceptual development and perceptual learning to explain these changes and to explain the richness and variability of adult perceptual experience.

    Philosophy of Mind in the Early Modern and Modern Ages

    Philosophy of Mind in the Early Modern and Modern Ages

    From Routledge: The early modern period is arguably the most pivotal of all in the study of the mind, teeming with a variety of conceptions of mind. Some of these posed serious questions for assumptions about the nature of the mind, many of which still depended on notions of the soul and God. It is an era that witnessed the emergence of theories and arguments that continue to animate the study of philosophy of mind, such as dualism, vitalism, materialism, and idealism.

    Covering pivotal figures in philosophy such as Descartes, Hobbes, Kant, Leibniz, Cavendish, and Spinoza, Philosophy of Mind in the Early Modern and Modern Ages provides an outstanding survey of philosophy of mind of the period. With an introduction by Rebecca Copenhaver and sixteen specially commissioned chapters by an international team of contributors.

    Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, enlightenment philosophy, and the history of philosophy, Philosophy of Mind in the Early Modern and Modern Ages is also a valuable resource for those in related disciplines such as religion, history of psychology, and history of science.

    Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge, and Value

    Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge, and Value

    This volume offers a fresh view of the work of Thomas Reid, a leading figure in the history of eighteenth-century philosophy. A team of leading experts in the field explore the significance of Reid's thought in his time and ours, focusing in particular on three broad themes: mind, knowledge, and value. Together, they argue that Reid's philosophy is about developing agents in a rich world of objects and values, agents with intellectual and active powers whose regularity is productive. Though such agents are equipped at first with rudimentary abilities, those abilities are responsive. Our powers consist in a fundamental and on-going engagement with the world, a world that calls on us to be flexible, sensitive, astute, and ultimately, practical. Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge, and Value represents both the vitality of Reid's work, and the ways in which current philosophers are engaging with his ideas.

    From Kant to Croce: Modern Philosophy in Italy, 1800-1950

    From Kant to Croce: Modern Philosophy in Italy, 1800-1950

    From Kant to Croce is a comprehensive, highly readable history of the main currents and major figures of modern Italian philosophy, described in a substantial introduction that details the development of the discipline during this period. Brian P. Copenhaver and Rebecca Copenhaver provide the only up-to-date introduction in English to Italy's leading modern philosophers by translating and analysing rare and original texts and by chronicling the lives and times of the philosophers who wrote them. Thoroughly documented and highly readable, From Kant to Croce examines modern Italian philosophy from the perspective of contemporary analytic philosophy.