Philosophy Department

Luis H. Favela

Luis H. Favela, Ph.D.

Luis Favela is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Central Florida.

He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy (Life Sciences Track) at the University of Cincinnati, where he concurrently earned a Master's in Experimental Psychology. Prior to Cincinnati, he earned a Master's in Philosophy at San Diego State University and a Bachelor's in English and Philosophy at the University of San Diego.

His research is both philosophical and empirical, residing at the intersection of the cognitive sciences, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. Currently, his primary research aim is to demonstrate the suitability of complexity science and dynamical systems theory to provide the appropriate theories and methods for investigating and understanding mind, where 'mind' includes behavior, cognition, and consciousness. His philosophical work centers on issues pertaining to the development and justification of explanations, methods, and theories of the cognitive, neural, and psychological sciences. His experimental work centers on dynamical systems modeling (especially decision making and neural dynamics) and perception-action (especially affordance perception, and sensory substitution and augmentation).

See personal website for CV and full list of publications.

Education

  • Ph.D. in Philosophy (Life Sciences Track) from University of Cincinnati
  • M.A. in Philosophy from San Diego State University
  • M.A. in Philosophy (Life Sciences Track) from University of Cincinnati
  • M.A. in Experimental Psychology from University of Cincinnati
  • B.A. in English and Philosophy from University of San Diego

Research Interests

Philosophical: AOS: Philosophy of cognitive science; philosophy of mind; philosophy of science. AOC: Buddhism; ethics (esp. applied, bioethics, neuroethics); history (modern, existentialism)
Empirical: Dynamical systems modeling: Decision-making; neural dynamics. Perception-action: Affordance perception; sensory substitution and augmentation

Selected Publications

Articles/Essays

  • Costa, A. A., Amon, M. J., Sporns, O. & Favela, L. H. (2018). Fractal analyses of networks of integrate-and-fire stochastic spiking neurons. In S. Cornelius, K. Coronges, B. Gonçalves, R. Sinatra, & A. Vespignani (Eds.), Complex networks IX: Proceedings of the 9th conference on complex networks CompleNet 2018 (pp. 161-171). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
  • Favela, L. H. (2018). An introduction to radical embodied cognitive neuroscience. Proceedings of A Body of Knowledge - Embodied Cognition and the Arts conference CTSA UCI 8-10 Dec 2016. Irvine, CA. 
  • Favela, L. H. (2018). How to defend embodied cognition against the locked-in syndrome challenge. Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics, 5(1), 27-48.
  • Favela, L. H., Amon, M. J., & van Rooij, M. M. J. W. (2018). The incommensurability of emergence and modularity in complex systems: A commentary on Wastell (2014). Theory & Psychology. doi:10.1177/0959354317750775
  • Favela, L. H., Riley, M. A., Shockley, K., & Chemero, A. (2018). Perceptually equivalent judgments made visually and via haptic sensory-substitution devices. Ecological Psychology. doi:10.1080/10407413.2018.1473712
  • Neemeh, Z. A., Favela, L. H., & Amon, M. J. (2018). Interspecies distributed cognition. In C. Kalish, M. Rau, J. Zhu, & T. T. Rogers (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. TBA). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Favela, L. H. (2017). Consciousness is (probably) still only in the brain, even though cognition is not. Mind and Matter, 15(1), 49-69.
  • Favela, L. H. (2017). Mental representations are not necessary for fish consciousness: Commentary on Woodruff (2017) “Consciousness in teleosts: There is something it feels like to be a fish.” Animal Sentience, 13(9), 1-3.
  • Favela, L. H., & Martin, J. (2017). “Cognition” and dynamical cognitive science. Minds and Machines, 27, 331-355. doi:10.1007/s11023-016-9411-4
  • Neemeh, Z. A., & Favela, L. H. (2017). Beyond distributed cognition: Towards a taxonomy of nonreductive social cognition. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2796-2801). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Favela, L. H., & Chemero, A. (2016). An ecological account of visual “illusions.” Florida Philosophical Review, 16(1), 68-93.
  • Favela, L. H. (2016). Commentary: Purves, Morgenstern, & Wojtach. (2015). Perception and reality: Why a wholly empirical paradigm is needed to understand vision. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 10(77). doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2016.00077
  • Moralez, L., & Favela, L. H. (2016). Thermodynamics and cognition: Towards a lawful explanation of the mind. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 948-953). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • van Rooij, M. M. J. W., & Favela, L. H. (2016). A nonlinear dynamical systems theory perspective on dual-processing accounts of decision-making under uncertainty. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1673-1678). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Favela, L. H., Coey, C. A., Griff, E. R., & Richardson, M. J. (2016). Fractal analysis reveals subclasses of neurons and suggests an explanation of their spontaneous activity. Neuroscience Letters626, 54-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2016.05.017
  • Favela, L. H., & Chemero, A. (2016). The animal-environment system. In Y. Coelllo & M. H. Fischer (Eds.), Foundations of Embodied Cognition: Volume 1: Perceptual and Emotional Embodiment (pp. 59-74). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Amon, M. J., & Favela, L. H. (2015). The complex experience of touching metallic, damp, and slimy things. Theory & Psychology, 25, 543-545. doi: 10.1177/0959354315576382
  • Favela, L. H. (2014). Radical embodied cognitive neuroscience: Addressing “grand challenges” of the mind sciences. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(796). doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00796
  • Favela, L. H., & Chemero, A. (2014). The value of affordances: Commentary on Barrett, The perception of religious meaning and value: An ecological approach. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 4, 147-149. doi: 10.1080/2153599X.2013.816343
  • van Rooij, M. M. J. W., Favela, L. H., Malone, M. L., & Richardson, M. J. (2013). A dynamical model of risky choice. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Waschsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1510-1515). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • van Rooij, M. M. J. W., Favela, L. H., Malone, M. L., & Richardson, M. J. (2013). Modeling the dynamics of risky choice. Ecological Psychology, 25, 293-303. doi: 10.1080/10407413.2013.810502

Awards

  • Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year. (2016-2017). University of Central Florida
  • Fellowships:

Activities

Courses

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
11376 PHI2010H Honors Intro to Philosophy Face2Face Tu,Th 12:00PM - 1:15PM Not Online
No Description Available
10872 PHI3323 Minds & Machine: Phil Cog Sci Web Web Not Online
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
81507 PHI2010 Introduction to Philosophy Face2Face Tu,Th 1:30PM - 2:45PM Available

Catalogue description: Inquiry into the meaning and justification of fundamental ideas and beliefs concerning reality, knowledge, and values; application to relevant topics in ethics, religion, and politics.

Detailed description: The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the ancient Greek word for “love of wisdom.” Many of the sciences of today—e.g., biology, physics, psychology, etc.—began as philosophy, and were called “natural philosophy.” One way to think of philosophy historically is as the place where investigations of the world begin when we are not even sure what are the right questions to ask. When the theories and methods begin to get clear, then that part of human inquiry is sometimes carved off and becomes a discipline on its own. So, in one sense, philosophy is where other disciplines begin, but in another, it is also the most general of disciplines. As one philosopher put it, “The aim of philosophy...is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term” (Wilfrid Sellars, 1912-1989 CE). Typical topics of study in philosophy include ethics (“What is the right or wrong thing to do?), mind (“How do my thoughts relate to my brain?”), and ontology (“What is it to be?”).

      Since philosophy has such a deep history (dating at least to around 500 BCE), has been practiced in many forms around the world (e.g., African, ancient Greek, Buddhist, etc.), and covers just about any topic worthy of attention (e.g., god, knowledge, logic, politics, etc.), it is impossible to introduce all of philosophy in a single course. As such, this course will introduce philosophy by means of a sampling of some of the big problems in philosophy, for example: “Can computers have minds,” “Do non-human animals have rights,” “Does a god exist,” “What is knowledge,” and “What is the meaning of life?” By taking the big problems approach, along the way we will discuss some of the big names in philosophy (e.g., Descartes, Hume, etc.) and some of the methods that are particular to philosophy (e.g., logic, Socratic method, thought experiments, etc.).

81478 PHI2010H Honors Intro to Philosophy Face2Face Tu,Th 12:00PM - 1:15PM Available

Catalogue description: Inquiry into the meaning and justification of fundamental ideas and beliefs concerning reality, knowledge, and values; application to relevant topics in ethics, religion, and politics.

Detailed description: The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the ancient Greek word for “love of wisdom.” Many of the sciences of today—e.g., biology, physics, psychology, etc.—began as philosophy, and were called “natural philosophy.” One way to think of philosophy historically is as the place where investigations of the world begin when we are not even sure what are the right questions to ask. When the theories and methods begin to get clear, then that part of human inquiry is sometimes carved off and becomes a discipline on its own. So, in one sense, philosophy is where other disciplines begin, but in another, it is also the most general of disciplines. As one philosopher put it, “The aim of philosophy...is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term” (Wilfrid Sellars, 1912-1989 CE). Typical topics of study in philosophy include ethics (“What is the right or wrong thing to do?), mind (“How do my thoughts relate to my brain?”), and ontology (“What is it to be?”).

      Since philosophy has such a deep history (dating at least to around 500 BCE), has been practiced in many forms around the world (e.g., African, ancient Greek, Buddhist, etc.), and covers just about any topic worthy of attention (e.g., god, knowledge, logic, politics, etc.), it is impossible to introduce all of philosophy in a single course. As such, this course will introduce philosophy by means of a sampling of some of the big problems in philosophy, for example: “Can computers have minds,” “Do non-human animals have rights,” “Does a god exist,” “What is knowledge,” and “What is the meaning of life?” By taking the big problems approach, along the way we will discuss some of the big names in philosophy (e.g., Descartes, Hume, etc.) and some of the methods that are particular to philosophy (e.g., logic, Socratic method, thought experiments, etc.).

91184 PHI4400 Philosophy of Science Web Web Not Online
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Session Date and Time Syllabus
50776 PHI2108 Critical Thinking Web A Web Available

Catalogue description: The logic of conversation, informal fallacies, and reasoning about human action.

Detailed description: This is an introductory course in critical thinking. It assumes that the student does not have prior knowledge of different types of reasoning, methods of interpretation, or forms and fallacies of argument. The primary objective of the course is to help the student be a better thinker both in their schoolwork and in their lives outside the classroom. Although the student will have some exposer, this course is not about formal logic, how people think, or how to win a debate. What this course will expose the student to are general rules of argumentation, how to organize one’s position in regard to a topic, and argumentative fallacies. Upon completion of the course, the student ought to have improved their ability to clearly and coherently express their thoughts and identify arguments and fallacies. Everyday thoughts, discussions, and decisions do not have to be called “arguments” to be such. The ability to pick the good ideas and opinions from the bad ones is a skill that can be learned. These are the skills you will begin to learn in this course.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
11527 PHI2010 Introduction to Philosophy Face2Face Tu,Th 1:30PM - 2:45PM Available

Catalogue description: Inquiry into the meaning and justification of fundamental ideas and beliefs concerning reality, knowledge, and values; application to relevant topics in ethics, religion, and politics.

Detailed description: The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the ancient Greek word for “love of wisdom.” Many of the sciences of today—e.g., biology, physics, psychology, etc.—began as philosophy, and were called “natural philosophy.” One way to think of philosophy historically is as the place where investigations of the world begin when we are not even sure what are the right questions to ask. When the theories and methods begin to get clear, then that part of human inquiry is sometimes carved off and becomes a discipline on its own. So, in one sense, philosophy is where other disciplines begin, but in another, it is also the most general of disciplines. As one philosopher put it, “The aim of philosophy...is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term” (Wilfrid Sellars, 1912-1989 CE). Typical topics of study in philosophy include ethics (“What is the right or wrong thing to do?), mind (“How do my thoughts relate to my brain?”), and ontology (“What is it to be?”).

            Since philosophy has such a deep history (dating at least to around 500 BCE), has been practiced in many forms around the world (e.g., Buddhist, ancient Greek, African, etc.), and covers just about any topic worthy of attention (e.g., god, knowledge, logic, politics, etc.), it is impossible to introduce all of philosophy in a single course. As such, this course will introduce philosophy by means of a sampling of some of the big problems in philosophy, for example: “Can computers have minds,” “Do non-human animals have rights,” “Does a god exist,” “What is knowledge,” and “What is the meaning of life?” By taking the big problems approach, along the way we will discuss some of the big names in philosophy (e.g., Descartes, Nagel, etc.) and some of the methods that are particular to philosophy (e.g., logic, Socratic method, thought experiments, etc.).

18771 PHI3930H Hon Special Topic Face2Face Tu,Th 4:30PM - 5:45PM Available

In 1987, the first Mind and Life dialogue was held in Dharamsala, India between His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and cognitive scientists. The purpose of the meeting was to begin a conversation between religion (Buddhism) and science (cognitive sciences). Having completed its 32nd meeting in December 2017, the Mind and Life dialogues have gathered together Buddhist practitioners and scholars with cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, and physicists to address topics such as addiction, altruism, cosmology, death, emotions, meditation, and memory. The unifying theme across these interdisciplinary conversations is that it is mutually beneficial to bring together “Eastern” contemplative practices, with “Western” sciences. Though one group is categorized as “religious” and the other as “scientific,” both are interested in gaining deeper understanding of the human condition. By demonstrating the (sometimes surprising) similarities and differences between religious and scientific ways of understanding how humans are in the world, the Mind and Life dialogues have confirmed how enriching such interdisciplinary conversations can be.

In continuing this tradition of dialogue between religion and science, this course brings together perspectives from Buddhism and cognitive sciences to examine three topics: (1) the nature of mind and self; (2) meditation; and (3) the role culture plays in such interdisciplinary conversations between religion and science. In order to do this, students will engage with each other and the instructors, and the instructors will be in dialogue with each other. One goal of this course is for students to experience what real interdisciplinary dialogues can be like between religion and science. The course is structured around five modules. The aim of the first two modules is to give students a foundational literacy of the two disciplines so they will be better equipped to put them into dialogue. In module one, Dr. Gleig will present an overview of Buddhism, and in module two, Dr. Favela will present an overview of the cognitive sciences. The next two modules will engage more specifically with ways in which Buddhism and cognitive sciences are similar and different in how they approach meditation and understand the mind and self. Finally, we will critically examine the nature of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary dialogues. In this final part of the course, we highlight the need to be cautious when doing interdisciplinary work and not overlooking the truly unique contributions of each field. With that said, we hope to demonstrate just how fruitful (and fun) cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and religion/science dialogues can be.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
81673 PHI2010H Honors Intro to Philosophy Face2Face Tu,Th 4:30PM - 5:45PM Available

Catalogue description: Inquiry into the meaning and justification of fundamental ideas and beliefs concerning reality, knowledge, and values; application to relevant topics in ethics, religion, and politics.

Detailed description: The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the ancient Greek word for “love of wisdom.” Many of the sciences of today—e.g., biology, physics, psychology, etc.—began as philosophy, and were called “natural philosophy.” One way to think of philosophy historically is as the place where investigations of the world begin when we are not even sure what are the right questions to ask. When the theories and methods begin to get clear, then that part of human inquiry is sometimes carved off and becomes a discipline on its own. So, in one sense, philosophy is where other disciplines begin, but in another, it is also the most general of disciplines. As one philosopher put it, “The aim of philosophy...is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term” (Wilfrid Sellars, 1912-1989 CE). Typical topics of study in philosophy include ethics (“What is the right or wrong thing to do?), mind (“How do my thoughts relate to my brain?”), and ontology (“What is it to be?”).

Since philosophy has such a deep history (dating at least to around 500 BCE), has been practiced in many forms around the world (e.g., African, ancient Greek, Buddhist, etc.), and covers just about any topic worthy of attention (e.g., god, knowledge, logic, politics, etc.), it is impossible to introduce all of philosophy in a single course. As such, this course will introduce philosophy by means of a sampling of some of the big problems in philosophy, for example: “Can computers have minds,” “Do non-human animals have rights,” “Does a god exist,” “What is knowledge,” and “What is the meaning of life?” By taking the big problems approach, along the way we will discuss some of the big names in philosophy (e.g., Descartes, Hume, etc.) and some of the methods that are particular to philosophy (e.g., logic, Socratic method, thought experiments, etc.).

81674 PHI2010H Honors Intro to Philosophy Face2Face Tu,Th 12:00PM - 1:15PM Available

Catalogue description: Inquiry into the meaning and justification of fundamental ideas and beliefs concerning reality, knowledge, and values; application to relevant topics in ethics, religion, and politics.

Detailed description: The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the ancient Greek word for “love of wisdom.” Many of the sciences of today—e.g., biology, physics, psychology, etc.—began as philosophy, and were called “natural philosophy.” One way to think of philosophy historically is as the place where investigations of the world begin when we are not even sure what are the right questions to ask. When the theories and methods begin to get clear, then that part of human inquiry is sometimes carved off and becomes a discipline on its own. So, in one sense, philosophy is where other disciplines begin, but in another, it is also the most general of disciplines. As one philosopher put it, “The aim of philosophy...is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term” (Wilfrid Sellars, 1912-1989 CE). Typical topics of study in philosophy include ethics (“What is the right or wrong thing to do?), mind (“How do my thoughts relate to my brain?”), and ontology (“What is it to be?”).

Since philosophy has such a deep history (dating at least to around 500 BCE), has been practiced in many forms around the world (e.g., African, ancient Greek, Buddhist, etc.), and covers just about any topic worthy of attention (e.g., god, knowledge, logic, politics, etc.), it is impossible to introduce all of philosophy in a single course. As such, this course will introduce philosophy by means of a sampling of some of the big problems in philosophy, for example: “Can computers have minds,” “Do non-human animals have rights,” “Does a god exist,” “What is knowledge,” and “What is the meaning of life?” By taking the big problems approach, along the way we will discuss some of the big names in philosophy (e.g., Descartes, Hume, etc.) and some of the methods that are particular to philosophy (e.g., logic, Socratic method, thought experiments, etc.).

81111 PHI3320 Philosophy of Mind Web Web Available

Catalogue description: Recent and contemporary attempts to understand the relation of mind to body, the relation of consciousness to personhood, and the relation of psychology to neurobiology.

Detailed description: This course introduces some of the main arguments, concepts, and theories in the philosophy of mind. Some of the questions addressed in the philosophy of mind include: “What are minds made of,” “How does the mind relate to the brain,” and “what is consciousness?” Answers to these questions have consequences for a wide range of other disciplines, including computer science, ethics, neuroscience, and theology. The first part of the course covers the main philosophical views concerning mind, such as dualism, behaviorism, identity theory, functionalism, and eliminativism. The second part of the course focuses on consciousness, and questions such as: “Does ‘consciousness’ exist,” “Is consciousness physical,” and “Can there be a science of consciousness?”

Updated: Aug 16, 2018

Philosophy Department • College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Central Florida
Phone: 407-823-2273 Fax: 407-823-6658  • philosophy@ucf.edu