Devin Curry

PhD in Philosophy ’18
Assistant Professor, West Virginia University
Graduate Certificate in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania ‘14

“SCAN was an indispensable part of my doctoral education, not to mention the decisive factor in landing my first job out of graduate school: a teaching postdoc in which I was expected to offer courses cross-listed between philosophy and neuroscience.

During that postdoc, I taught a course on the Philosophy and Science of Intelligence, which led to my current research project on metaphysical lessons that can be drawn from attempts to discover the neural basis of intelligence. One of my core theoretical commitments is to the heterogeneity of the mental. In part, that means that I think some mental phenomena are best understood as reducible to neural mechanisms, whereas other mental phenomena (like intelligence) cannot be adequately studied using the methods of neuroscience (because they dynamically emerge at higher levels of psychological (or social) explanation).

If not for SCAN, I would not be credible when making either the claim that some mental phenomena are within the purview of cognitive neuroscience, or the claim that other mental phenomena are not.

I have learned a lot about the brain since I earned my certificate in 2015, but everything I have learned has built off of the strong foundation of knowledge I developed while enrolled in the SCAN program.

As an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University, that foundation continues to enhance my teaching as well as my research: my regularly offered Philosophy of Mind course covers some methodological problems in cognitive neuroscience, and I have begun to develop a separate Philosophy of Neuroscience course which will help promote interdisciplinary connections between the Department of Philosophy and the new Neuroscience Major at WVU.

Whenever a new philosophy graduate student asks me for advice about how best to spend their time at Penn, I recommend that they look into SCAN.”