Luke Kersten

PhD Philosophy

  • Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Dugald Stewart Building

3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code


​Originally a small town hockey player from Canada, I am now completing a PhD in Philosophy in the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Before joining Edinburgh, I spent time completing degrees in cognitive science and philosophy. I work on topics mostly in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, with side interests in philosophy of science and computing. 



  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching

Research summary

Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Psychology and Mind, Philosophy of Science, Music Cognition


Journal Articles

Conference Proceedings

  • 2017. “The Narrow Conception of Computational Psychology.” In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society (pp.2389-2394). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • 2017. (with Joe Dewhurst & George Deane) “Resolving two tensions in 4E cognition using wide computationalism.” In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society (pp.2395-2400). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • 2016. (with Robert West & Andrew Brook) “Leveling the Field: Talking Levels in Cognitive Science.” In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J.C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society (pp.2399-2404). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

​Published Commentaries

Knowledge exchange

Project activity

Wide Mechanistic Computation

My doctoral research focuses on developing a wide mechanistic approach to computational cognitive science. This work picks up on earlier themes by Wilson (1994), Losonksy (1995), and Hutchins (1995). The core idea is that some computational mechanisms constitutively include elements of the embedding environment, and that these mechanisms form the proper target of computational explanations. Drawing and empirical and philosophical resources, I aim to create a robust account of wide mechanistic computation that provides methodological guidance for researchers within cognitive science.​ 

Levels in Cognitive Science

I have spent some time in recent years thinking about the concept of levels and its role within cognitive science. Talk of levels is not only ubiquitous within cognitive science, but it also plays a central  role within foundational discussions. My broad aim has been to show that a pluralistic approach to levels helps to generate a more complete understanding of what is going on in cognitive science, both in terms of theorising and modelling.​​

4E Music Cognition

The explosion of research in embodied, embedded, enactive and extended cognition has done much to change how we think about and study the mind. In pursuit of further developing the 4E framework, I have sought to integrate theories of embodied, embedded, and extended cognition into the study of music cognition. My aim has been to advance the study of music cognition by focusing on the ways in which musical processes are often integrated with and heavily dependent on body and world.

Papers delivered

2018     PPLS -Gray Publication Prize, University of Edinburgh

2016    Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Carleton University 

2015     David and Rachel Epstein Award, Carleton University

2015     Alfred & Isabel Bader Student Award, Carleton University

2013     Graduate Student Award, Advanced Education, Government of Alberta

2013     Profiling Graduate Student Award, University of Alberta