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Dr Natalia Waights Hickman

Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy


I spent my childhood in Cádiz, Spain, and most of my teens in Hastings; then for a few years I was based in Belgium. I came to Oxford in 2006 to read PPE at Brasenose College, and went on to an MA in Philosophy at Reading, and a DPhil at Oxford. In summer 2015 I moved to Oslo, where I finished my DPhil and took up a research position at the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature (CSMN). I’m now a Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy at Queen’s, and an affiliate researcher with the University of Oslo’s Conceptual Engineering project.



My main teaching and research areas are epistemology, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind; I also enjoy teaching metaphysics, ethics and Wittgenstein. I’ve tutored in all the corresponding Oxford FHS papers, as well as teaching for the outreach program. During my MA, I taught for various pre-university summer schools in Philosophy and Economics, and tutored for A Level in both subjects. 


My work is at the intersection of epistemology, the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. My central interest is in linguistic (especially semantic) knowledge and ‘practical’ knowledge-how, and certain peculiarities they exhibit. In particular, both are often implicit, i.e. the knower can’t always express or represent what she knows; and both are indefinitely productive, enabling the knower to respond correctly in novel conditions—e.g., a competent English speaker can correctly interpret a novel English sentence; and a competent outfielder can correctly respond to a novel fly ball. My DPhil focused on these symmetries, in defending a uniformly ‘cognitivist’ conception of both semantic and practical knowledge.

More generally, I’m interested in most of the metaphysics and epistemology of language, in the relations between knowledge and practical rationality, and in the role played by various psychological factors (such as fragmentation and modes of presentation) in mediating the uptake and use of knowledge; in this connection, I’ve recently become interested in the role of attention.



‘Knowing in the “Executive Way”: Knowing How, Rules, Methods, Principles and Criteria’. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2018).

‘A Rylean Intellectualism: Abandoning the Dualism of Theory and Practice.’ Moyal-Sharrock, Munz, and Coliva (eds.) Mind, Language and Action: Proceedings of the 36th International Wittgenstein Symposium, 2013 (Gruyter, 2015).

‘Is it intelligible that an organism without pain-behaviour might feel pain?’ Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol. 18 (9-10), September 2011.