Centre for Languages and Literature

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


I have been with the Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS) since January 2011, first as a research assistant and then, having defended my thesis in March 2011, as a postdoc. Prior to this, I was a visiting doctoral student in the Department of Philosophy, from September 2009. My interests include the way that concepts, signs (as semiotic resources), and language all pull apart from each other; and the use of conventionalized signs to determine moral agency, understood as being appropriately held responsible for one's actions and their consequences. I help organize the weekly CCS seminars, and I maintain the CCS web pages. I am the managing editor of the Journal of Cognitive Semiotics since its recent re-launch as a collaborative project between the Centre for Semiotics in Århus, Denmark, and the Centre for Cognitive Semiotics in Lund, Sweden. I am also the safety officer for my section of the department. I currently teach undergraduate philosophy courses one day per week in Skövde.


About the research

My broader research interests lie in theories of concepts within philosophy of mind: in particular Peter Gärdenfors conceptual spaces theory (CST). In my work, I address the much-debated question whether concepts are, at least in the first instance, representations (often glossed as "mental representations"); or abilities (generally understood to be non-representational). I conclude that they are (and must be) both. Concepts are one thing when we stop and reflect on them; they are another when we (as we must do, most of the time) possess and employ them non-reflectively. On the one hand, we can establish the logical priority of concepts-as-abilities; on the other, we do so from an unavoidably representational perspective that we cannot set aside: the moment we reflect on our presumably non-representational abilities, they become representations.

My thesis proposed a set of extensions to CST, the Unified Conceptual Space Theory (UCST), which attempts to push CST in a more algorithmically amenable direction and show how all of a conceptual agent's many conceptual spaces map together in a single unified space: a space of spaces. I am developing plans with a psychologist at CCS for empirical studies using a software application I wrote for my thesis, as a direct implementation of UCST, in the form of a mind-mapping application.


Books (1)
Editorships (1)
Articles (7)
Book chapters (3)
Conference contributions (2)

Joel Parthemore

Former employee at Centre for Languages and Literature.

Joel Parthemore can no longer be reached through the department/unit.