Nicolas J. Bullot

BA (Hons), MA, PhD (Cognitive Science, EHESS Paris), PhD (Philosophy, University of Alberta),

Lecturer in Philosophy

Dr Nicolas Bullot’s areas of specialisation comprise Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Art, Culture, and Aesthetics. His areas of competence include Ethics (involving Bioethics), Philosophy of Social Science, Epistemology, Logic, Metaphysics, and the History of Philosophy and Psychology.

Dr Bullot’s research investigates questions in relation to cognition and emotions, identity and social identification, cultural learning, and the arts. One of his core research aims has been to develop philosophical models of the abilities and social tools that humans use to identify, refer to, and interact with individual things such as persons and works of art. This project has led him to examine the contributions of attention to identification and reference (e.g., Bullot 2009, 2011), the role of identification and historical cognition in our response to works of art (e.g., Bullot 2009, 2014, Bullot & Reber 2013), and the cognitive and social mechanisms for identifying persons (e.g., Bullot & Rysiew 2007, Bullot 2014, 2015).

Dr Bullot’s philosophical method aims to develop an alternative to individualistic models of human cognition and contextualist theories of culture that reject the methods of cognitive sciences. The alternative he proposes is a new psychohistorical theory of identification and control, developed in the context of his writings about social cognition and the arts. The qualifier “psychohistorical” (or “psychocultural”) denotes research that aims to integrate (i) system-based explanations of human cognition common in the psychological and biological sciences with (ii) contextualistic explanations pervasive in historical accounts in philosophy and the social sciences.

Dr Bullot’s psychohistorical theory of art (Bullot 2009, 2014, Bullot & Reber 2013, Bullot, Seeley, Davies 2017) has contributed to integrating the cognitive science of art appreciation with contextualist research in the ontology and history of the arts.

Dr Bullot’s current research also includes a philosophical examination of the application of science and technology to the identification, classification, surveillance, and control of human individuals.

Dr Bullot enjoys sharing his passion for normative and theoretical philosophy, social cognitive sciences, and the arts at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has taught a wide range of philosophical topics, including courses focused on Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, Ethics and Social Philosophy, and Decision Theory. Dr Bullot welcomes postgraduate students interested in his supervision and co-supervision of Master’s and PhD degrees. He has experience in supervising both students whose research engages with philosophical topics and students working on transdisciplinary and creative arts projects.

Along with his research, Dr Bullot is a field recordist and develops sound-art projects for exploring environmental and philosophical issues.


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Research Interest

Philosophy of Science

Interdisciplinary Research and Methodology

Philosophy of Mind and Cognition

Philosophy of Perception

Philosophy of Art, Culture, and Empirical Aesthetics

Aboriginal Art and Indigenous Cultures

Philosophy of Identification and Political Control

Theory of Privacy and Surveillance

Ethics and Moral Psychology

History of Psychology and Cognitive Science

Previous Teaching

Art and Cognition

Decision Theory


Introduction to Philosophy: Epistemology

Introduction to Philosophy: Values and Society

Logic and Critical Thinking

Philosophy of Cognitive Science

Philosophy of Health Care

Philosophy of Mind

Philosophy of Perception

Philosophy of Science

Risk, Choice, and Rationality

Theory of Linguistic Communication

Professional Associations

Australasian Association of Philosophy

American Philosophical Association

Cognitive Science Society

Publications: Books and Edited Volumes

  • Bullot, N. J., Rich, A. (Eds). (2014, October). “The tracking and identification of human agents”. Special issue of Topics in Cognitive Science, 6(4), p. i-iii, 559-680. URL link to Table of Contents. Contributors for this issue include Andrew Brook, Max Coltheart and Robyn Langdon, Susan A. Gelman, George Newman and Dan Bartels, and Lance Rips.
  • Bullot, N. J., Egré, P. (Eds). (2010). Objects and Sound Perception. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1(1). URL link to Table of Contents. Contributors for this issue are Stephen Davies, Michael Kubovy, Mohan Matthen, Matthew Nudds, Casey O’Callaghan, and David Roden.
  • Bullot, N. J., Ludwig, P. (Eds). (2003). Art and the Mind. The Monist, An International Quarterly Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry (86:4).

Publications in Peer Reviewed Journals

  • Bullot, N.J., Reber, R., (in press). Artistic misunderstandings: the emotional significance of historical learning in the arts. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Bullot, N. J., Seeley, B., Davies, S. (in press). Art and science: a philosophical sketch of their historical complexity and co-dependence. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
  • Bullot, N. J. (2015). Agent tracking: a psycho-historical theory of the identification of living and social agents. Biology & Philosophy, 30, p. 359-382. DOI: 10.1007/s10539-014-9447-x.
  • Rich, A., Bullot, N. J. (2014). Keeping track: The tracking and identification of human agents. Topics in Cognitive Science, 6(4), p. 560-566. DOI: 10.1111/tops.12112. Editorial preface of the issue about “The tracking and identification of human agents,” N. J. Bullot and A. Rich (Editors).
  • Bullot, N. J. (2014). Explaining person identification: An inquiry into the tracking of human agents. Topics in Cognitive Science, 6(4), p. 567-584. DOI: 10.1111/tops.12109.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2014). The functions of environmental art. Leonardo, 47 (5), p. 511-512. DOI: 10.1162/LEON_a_00828.
  • Reber, R., Bullot, N. J. (2013). Artistic understanding matters to musical judgment: Comment on ‘From everyday emotions to aesthetic emotions: Towards a unified theory of musical emotions’ by Patrik N. Juslin. Physics of Life Reviews, 10(3), p. 273-274. DOI:
  • Bullot, N. J., Reber, R. (2013). A psycho-historical research program for the integrative science of art [response to 27 BBS commentators]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36 (2), p. 163-180. DOI:
  • Bullot, N. J., Reber, R. (2013). The artful mind meets art history: Toward a psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation [target article]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36 (2), p. 123-137. DOI:
  • Bullot, N. J., Égré, P. (2010). Objects and sound perception (Editorial to special issue on ‘Objects and sound perception’). Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1(1), p. 5-17. Springer Verlag. DOI: 10.1007/s13164-009-0006-3.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2009). Toward a theory of the empirical tracking of individuals: Cognitive flexibility and the functions of attention in integrated tracking. Philosophical Psychology, 22 (3), p. 353-387. DOI: 10.1080/09515080902969006.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2009). Material anamnesis and the prompting of aesthetic worlds: The psycho-historical theory of artworks. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16(1), p. 85-109
  • Bullot, N. J., Droulez, J. (2008). Keeping track of invisible individuals while exploring a spatial layout with partial cues: Location-based and deictic direction-based strategies. Philosophical Psychology, 21(1), 15-46. DOI: 10.1080/09515080701840861.
  • Bullot, N. J., Rysiew, P. (2007). A study in the perception of individuals' identity: Solving the problem of singular cognition in object and agent tracking. Consciousness and Cognition (16), 276-293. DOI:
  • Bullot, N. J. (2006) The principle of ontological commitment in pre- and postmortem multiple agent tracking. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29 (5), pp. 466-468. DOI:
  • Bullot, N. J. (2006). La Construction de l'objet perçu, Recherches sur la perception singulière des objets physiques, l'attention épistémique et l’identification démonstrative: Résumé. In Cognitio: Cahiers Romans de Sciences Cognitives, (3.1), pp. 75-79.

Publications: Book Chapters, Peer Reviewed

  • Bullot, N. J. (2014). History, causal information, and the neuroscience of art: Toward a psycho-historical theory. Brain Theory: Essays in Critical Neurophilosophy (p. 241-263). Wolfe, Charles (Ed.). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. URL link on Google Books.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2014). La théorie psycho-historique de l'art. Naturaliser l'esthétique? Questions et enjeux d'un programme philosophique (p. 75-85). In Morizot, Jacques (Ed.). Presses Universitaires de Rennes.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2011). Attention, information, and epistemic perception. Information and Living Systems: Essays in Philosophy of Biology (p. 309-352). Terzis, George & Arp, Robert (Eds). The MIT Press. URL Link on Google Books.
  • Bullot, N. J., Casati, R., Dokic, J. (2005). L'identification des objets et des lieux sont-elles interdépendantes? Agir dans l’espace (p. 13-32). Thinus-Blanc, C. and Bullier, J. (Eds). Paris, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme.
  • Bullot, N. J., Casati, R., Dokic, J., Ludwig, P. (2005). Art et Cognition: deux théories. Approches Cognitives de la Création Artistique (p. 45-48). Borillo, Mario (Ed.). Editions Mardaga.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2005). Context-dependent and epistemic uses of attention for perceptual-demonstrative identification. Modeling and Using Context (p. 67-82). Dey, A., Kokinov, B., Leake, D., Turner, R. (Eds.). DOI: 10.1007/11795018. Berlin Heidelberg, Springer Verlag.

Publications: Conference Publications, Peer Reviewed

  • Bullot, N. J. (2013, May-June). Nature under surveillance: deciphering the core functions of environmental arts. In Future Nature, Future Culture(s): Balance-Unbalance 2013 International Conference, Noosa, Australia, S. Davis (Ed.) (p. 13-23), Noosa Biosphere Limited & CQ University Noosa.
  • Bullot, N.J., Reber, R. (2012, August). The artful mind meets art history: A psycho-historical foundation for empirical aesthetics. In Proceedings of the 22nd Biennial Congress of The International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) (pp. C6-11). Taipei, Taiwan: National Taiwan Normal University.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2006, July). Object files, anchoring, sortals and the problem of singular perception. Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (pp. 1062-1067).
  • Bullot, N. J. (2006, July). An account of image perceptual understanding based on epistemic attention and reference. Smart Graphics 2006, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 4073, A. Butz et al. (Eds.) (pp. 224-229), doi:10.1007/11795018. Berlin Heidelberg, Springer Verlag.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2005, December). Attention épistémique et identification démonstrative. Actes du Colloque de la Société de Philosophie Analytique (SOPHA 2003), Montréal, 26, 27, 28 septembre 2003: ‘Langage, Pensée, Action’ Public@tions Electroniques de Philosophi@ Scienti@e,,
  • Bullot, N. J., Rysiew, P. (2005, March) Tracking objects, tracking agents. Conference 'Referring to objects'. Interdisciplines, ,
  • Bullot, N. J., Casati, R., Dokic, J., Giri, M. (2004, October 13). Sounding objects. Proceedings of “Les journées du design sonore (IRCAM, SFA)”, October 13-15 2004, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
  • Bullot, N. J. (2003, January). Objects and aesthetic attention. & L’attention esthétique et les objets. Interdisciplines,


T: 08 8946 6057