Luis H. Favela

Luis H. Favela, Ph.D.

Biography

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.

My research is interdisciplinary and centers on scientific explanation. I am interested in the ways philosophical work intersects with scientific practice, especially in the life and mind sciences. Accordingly, I have published in cognitive science, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology venues. This work centers on three interrelated areas. The first is epistemological and involves explanatory practices and justification (e.g., dynamical vs. mechanistic explanations). The second is metaphysical and explores the consequences such explanatory practices have for scientific ontology. The third applies the first two to experimental research and involves articulating and applying an explanatory framework (i.e., complexity science), which I have employed on decision-making, neuronal networks, and perception-action experiments.

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 sciences; philosophy of mind; philosophy of science. AOC: Applied ethics; philosophy of religion
Empirical: Action-perception: Affordance perception; sensory substitution and augmentation. Dynamical systems modeling: Decision-making; neuronal dynamics.


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

Activities

Courses

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
17602 PHI2010H Honors Intro to Philosophy Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu,Th 03:00 PM - 04:15 PM Unavailable
No Description Available
17772 PHI3323 Minds & Machine: Phil Cog Sci World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

Catalogue description: Assumptions undergirding research in Cognitive Science.

Detailed description: The purpose of this course is to provide a broad introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Cognitive Science. As an interdisciplinary field, the material covered will be from various disciplines such as artificial intelligence, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. Cognitive Science includes a great deal of both theoretical and empirical work. As such, this course will allow students to gain experience in analyzing and evaluating theories in Cognitive Science and determining whether or how a contemporary issue in Cognitive Science could be addressed empirically.

19540 PHI4321 Embodiment: Mind Body Self Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu,Th 01:30 PM - 02:45 PM Unavailable

Catalogue description: Different ways of understanding relations between mind, body, and nature. Self-knowledge as articulated by western and non-western philosophies from ancient to contemporary times.

Detailed description: The purpose of this course is to examine relationships between minds, bodies, and worlds, and what that means for having a sense of self. In short, we examine being-in-the-world. Many questions in this course pertain to relations: How does the mind relate to the body; How does the body relate to the environment; How does cognition relate to life; How do I relate to others, etc.? This course takes an interdisciplinary approach and incorporates disciplines such as biology, cognitive science, philosophy, and psychology.

19541 PHI5328 Philosophies of Embodiment Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu,Th 01:30 PM - 02:45 PM Unavailable

Catalogue description: Relations among mind, body, and nature. Knowledge of self, world and others as articulated by Western philosophy, with special emphasis on embodied cognition.

Detailed description: The purpose of this course is to examine relationships between minds, bodies, and worlds, and what that means for having a sense of self. In short, we examine being-in-the-world. Many questions in this course pertain to relations: How does the mind relate to the body; How does the body relate to the environment; How does cognition relate to life; How do I relate to others, etc.? This course takes an interdisciplinary approach and incorporates disciplines such as biology, cognitive science, philosophy, and psychology.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
90130 PHI3320 Philosophy of Mind World Wide Web (W) 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?”

90809 PHI4400 Philosophy of Science World Wide Web (W) Available

Catalogue description: An examination of the conceptual foundations and methodology of modern science.

Detailed description: This course is an introduction to the philosophy of science. It will provide background knowledge for pursuing specific and more advanced topics in the area. You will gain increased understanding of this field via exposure to topics of both historical and contemporary importance. Topics will center on questions such as: Can science be demarcated from pseudoscience? Do nonscientific values play a role in scientific practice? Is there progress in science? What is the problem of induction? These issues are significant for philosophers interested in the nature of science, practicing scientists interested in the theoretical commitments underlying their work, and the general public who are affected by the practice and products of science.

Course Number Course Title Mode Session Date and Time Syllabus
60932 PHI2108 Critical Thinking World Wide Web (W) A 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 does not assume prior knowledge of different types of reasoning, methods of interpretation, or forms and fallacies of argument. The primary objective of the course is to become a better thinker both in schoolwork and outside the classroom. Although there is some exposer, this course is not about formal logic, how people think, or how to win a debate. This course is about general rules of argumentation, how to organize one’s position in regard to a topic, and argumentative fallacies. Upon completion of the course, students 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
11376 PHI2010H Honors Intro to Philosophy Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu,Th 12:00 PM - 01:15 PM 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.).

10872 PHI3323 Minds & Machine: Phil Cog Sci World Wide Web (W) Available

Catalogue description: Assumptions undergirding research in Cognitive Science.

Detailed description: The purpose of this course is to provide a broad introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Cognitive Science. As an interdisciplinary field, the material covered will be from various disciplines such as artificial intelligence, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. Cognitive Science includes a great deal of both theoretical and empirical work. As such, this course will allow students to gain experience in analyzing and evaluating theories in Cognitive Science and determining whether or how a contemporary issue in Cognitive Science could be addressed empirically.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
81507 PHI2010 Introduction to Philosophy Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu,Th 01:30 PM - 02:45 PM 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 Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu,Th 12:00 PM - 01:15 PM 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 World Wide Web (W) Available

Catalogue description: An examination of the conceptual foundations and methodology of modern science.

Detailed description: This course is an introduction to the philosophy of science. It will provide background knowledge for pursuing specific and more advanced topics in the area. You will gain increased understanding of this field via exposure to topics of both historical and contemporary importance. Topics will center on questions such as: Can science be demarcated from pseudoscience? Do nonscientific values play a role in scientific practice? Is there progress in science? What is the problem of induction? These issues are significant for philosophers interested in the nature of science, practicing scientists interested in the theoretical commitments underlying their work, and the general public who are affected by the practice and products of science.

Updated: Aug 26, 2019