Edinburgh Research Explorer

Tillmann Vierkant

Senior Lecturer

Phone: 0131 651 3748


Dr Tillmann Vierkant is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Philosophy 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. He has 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. Finally, he has edited two volumes on the cognitive science challenge to free will, most notably “Decomposing the Will” (OUP).

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.

Currently, he is writing a monograph on the role of intentional mental actions in human cognition under contract with Oxford University Press.

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


Research outputs

  1. Responsibility without freedom? Folk judgements about deliberate actions

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Choice in a two systems world: Picking and weighing or managing and metacognition

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Does Science show that we lack free will?

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

View all (26) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Free Will and Neuroscience

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  2. Mind and Language (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

  3. Synthese (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

View all (90) »

Research projects

  1. Neurophilosophy of Free Will

    Project: Research Collaboration with external organisation

  2. RSE International Exchange programme- Dr Thomas Marvan

    Project: Other (Non-Funded/Miscellaneous)

View all (2) »

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