Tillmann Vierkant


Personal profile


Dr Tillmann Vierkant is a Professor of Neurophilosophy of Agency and Free Will at the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS) at the University of Edinburgh.

His research interests are centered around questions on the nature of mental actions. His monograph on related issues The Tinkering Mind has appeared in October 2022 with Oxford University Press. He has also worked extensively on topics relating to free will and voluntary action in an interdisciplinary context and is part of a multi million dollar project on the Neuro Philosophy of Free Will (see more here ). He has written also on willpower and the extended mind, implicit bias, self-knowledge, mind reading and connections between language evolution and voluntary action. He has also been involved in X phi exploring folk intuitions on freedom and responsibility. and has edited two volumes on the cognitive science challenge to free will, most notably “Decomposing the Will” (OUP).

His newest research interest is in how to bridge responsibility gaps in AI systems using lessons from neuroethics. This interest has led to a cooperation with Prof Shannon Vallor in the UKRI funded project Making Systems Answer.

He is also very keen to promote outreach and impact in philosophy. He has organised the Scottish Oureach and impact prize in philosophy and his Impact Case Study for the REF 2014 was selected by the College as one of its examples of sucessful impact. He is now the impact officer for philosophy.


Research Interests

Philosophy of Mind, Free Will, Mental Actions, Consciousness, Implicit/explicit mental processing, Neuroethics, Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science.


1993-1998 - Philosophy Student at the LMU Munich

1999-2002 - PhD Student at the Max Planck Institute forPsychological Research, Munich.

2003-2005 - Post Doc Position and Research Coordinator of the Voluntary Action Project at the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich.


Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science at all levels from Introduction to honours at the University of Edinburgh, LMU Munich, and the Jesuit School of Philosophy Munich. 

Since 2005 I have taught at least one postgraduate seminar per year and supervised at least 3 taught MSc dissertations each summer. 

Administrative Roles

-Exams Convener

- Director Msc Mind Language and Embodied Cognition

-Head of Subject Area (2013 2015)

-Panel Member AHRC Scottish Graduate School

- Postgraduate Advisor Philosophy Department (2011-2013)

- Senior Tutor (2007-20010)

- Deputy Head of Department

- Course Organiser MML 

- Director of Studies

- External/Internal Examiner of various PhD Thesis

Reviewer for the Philosophical Quarterly, Erkenntnis, American Philosophical Quarterly, Mind and Language, Philosophical Explorations, Phenomenology and Cognitive Science, Psyche, Theory and Psychology Journals. 

Review Editor in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, part of the journal(s) Frontiers in Psychology.

Reviewer of the Oxford University Books Project and Routledge Books Project.

Member of the ESF Referee Pool. Project Reviews for ESF, Austrian and Portugese Science Foundation.

Head of Philosophy,Psychology and Informatics Research Seminar: http://www.ppls.ed.ac.uk/ppig/index.htm



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