School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences


Dr Jane Suilin Lavelle

Photograph of Dr Jane Suilin Lavelle
0131 650 3651
5.07 (DSB)
Research Interests
Philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, moral psychology, philosophy of science,

Suilin joined the department in Spring 2011, having completed a PhD at the University of Sheffield. Her primary interest is the field of social cognition, and more specifically, in the various answers given to the question 'How do we understand other people's psychological states?' She defends a 'theory-theory' answer to this question, maintaining that the cognitive processes which facilitate our grasp of our own mental states and those of others are best understood as being theory-like. Her research is strongly inter-disciplinary, drawing on research in psychology, neuroscience, animal behaviour and anthropology.

Suilin is also interested in the nature of the cognitive mechanisms underlying joint attention, and believes that developing a clearer understanding of these mechanisms will enable us to have a more comprehensive grasp of social phenomena such as pedagogy and altruism.

Representative Publications

  • Contrastive Explanation and the Many Absences Problem (first author; co-authored with George Botterill and Suzanne Lock). Synthese, online first™ 2012. DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0205-9
  • Two challenges to Hutto's account of pre-linguistic social cognition. Philosophia, online first™ 2011. DOI 10.1007/s11406-011-9356-z
  • Theory-theory and the direct perception of mental states. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, online first™ 2012. DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0094-3

Work in progress

  • 'Theory and the second person perspective'
  • 'Normativity and theory in mindreading'


Activities & awards

Teaching (current)

  • Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science  (MSc)
  • Advanced Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science (MSc)
  • Introduction to Philosophical Methodology (MSc)
  • Philosophy of Science (MSc)
  • Philosophy of Science 1 (Pre-hons)
  • Social Cognition (MA)

Previous teaching

  • Philosophical Issues in Evolution (MA)
  • Philosophy of Psychology (MA)
  • Metaphysics of Mind (MA)


Chatting with Mark Dance on 'The Headspace' radio show about mirror neurons.

Administrative Roles

  • Programme Director, Epistemology, Ethics and Mind MSc 
  • Dartmouth FSP co-ordinator (2015-16)

Office Hours: by appointment

Office hours are not just there for 'problems'; I am always excited to talk about philosophy with people so please make an appointment to come by!