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Axel Seemann

Professor, Philosophy
Ph.D., London School of Economics, 2000
MSc, London School of Economics, 1996
MA, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet, 1993
Office: Smith Technology Center 104 | 781.891._2241 |

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Axel Seemann is interested in questions that arise in the broad context of social cognition. In particular, he is working on the notions of joint attention and action. Before coming to Bentley, Axel was a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley. He worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group and used to be a television journalist in Berlin.

Teaching Interests

Philosophy of Mind; Social Philosophy;

Research Interests

Philosophy of Mind; Social Philosophy;

Awards and Honors

2011, Visiting Research Fellowship, King's College London
2009, Valente Research Fellowship, Valente Center for the Arts and Sciences
2009, Visiting Research Fellowship, University of Hertfordshire
2009, Conference Grant, National Science Foundation
2004, Research Grant, The Boston Consulting Group
1999, Visiting Scholarship, UC Berkeley
1998, Graduate Studentship, British Academy
1996, Graduate Studentship, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung


Journal Article(s)
Seemann, A. An Externalist Theory of Social Understanding: Interaction, Psychological Models, and the Frame Problem. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. Forthcoming

Seemann, A. (2019). Reminiscing Together. Synthese, 196 (12), 4813-4828. Forthcoming

Seemann, A. (2011). The Role of Joint Experience in Historical Narratives. Journal of the Philosophy of History, 5 (2), 201-229.

Seemann, A. (2011). Joint Motor Action and Cross-Creature Embodiment. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 2 (2), 279-301.

Seemann, A. (2010). The Other Person in Joint Attention: A Relational Approach. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 17 (5-6), 161-182.

Seemann, A. (2009). Joint Agency: Intersubjectivity, Sense of Control, and the Feeling of Trust. Inquiry, 52 (2), 500-515.

Seemann, A. (2009). Why We Did It: An Anscombian Approach to Collective Action Explanation. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 17 (5), 637 - 655.

Seemann, A. (2008). Person Perception. Philosophical Explorations, 11 (3), 245 - 262.

Seemann, A. (2007). Rational Trust: Interview with Onora O'Neill. Philosophy of Management, 6 (2), 3-8.

Seemann, A. (2007). Strategy: Rationality, Intuition, and Accountability. Philosophy of Management, 6 (1), 123 - 134. (link)

Seemann, A. (2007). Collective Knowledge and the 'We'-Perspective. Social Epistemology, 21 (3), 217 - 230. (link)

Seemann, A. (2004). Lifeworld, Discourse, and Realism: on Juergen Habermas's theory of truth. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 30 (4), 503 - 514.

Seemann, A. (2019). The Shared World: Perceptual Common Knowledge, Demonstrative Communication, and Social Space. MIT Press. (link)

Edited Volumes
Seemann, A. (Ed.). (2012). Joint Attention: New Developments.  (pp. 350). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Book Chapters
Seemann, A. (2013). Social Cognition, Social Reality, and Social Science. In Byron Kaldis (Eds.), Mind & Society. Dordrecht: . Springer Synthese Series

Seemann, A. (2013). Joint Attention and Social Cognition. In Byron Kaldis (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences. London: . Sage

Seemann, A. (2012). Joint Attention: Towards a Relational Account. In Axel Seemann (Eds.), Joint Attention: New Developments (pp. 183 - 202). Cambridge MA: . MIT Press

Seemann, A. (2011). The Evaluative Dimension of Self-Awareness. In Keith Lehrer, Anita Konzelmann-Ziv, Hans-Bernhard Schmid (Eds.), Self-Evaluation: Affective and Social Grounds of Intentionality (pp. 45 - 58). Frankfurt: . Ontos

Frederick, R. E, Seemann, A. (2008). Rationality. In Robert W. Kolb (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society. Thousand Oaks, California: . Sage Publications

Conference Presentations

Seemann, A. (2021). "An Externalist Solution to the Problem of Common Knowledge." Presented at the University College London's Common Knowledge, Common Ground, and Context in Communication, London UK.

Seemann, A. (2020). "What Do We Mean By "Loneliness"?" Presented at the University College London's Meeting of the "Loneliness and Isolation in Mental Health Network", London UK.

Seemann, A. (2018). "Joint Perception, Social Space, and the Limits of the Self." Presented at the "Open Self" Conference, Technical University of Berlin.

Seemann, A. (2018). "The Spatial Structure of Demonstrative Communication." Presented at the University of Milan's "Communication and Cooperation", Milan.

Seemann, A. (2018). "The Public Nature of Perceptual Evidence." Presented at the Valente Center for the Arts and Sciences's Valente Research Seminar, Waltham, MA.

Seemann, A. (2017). "Perspective-Taking and the Social Spatial Framework." Presented at the Queen Mary University's Joint Action Meeting, London, UK.

Seemann, A. (2016). "Joint Experience, Demonstrative Reference, and Spatial Perception." Presented at the University of London's ICOG 3, London, UK.

Seemann, A. (2015). "Joint Action, Joint Attention, Joint Experience." Presented at the European University's Joint Action Meeting, Budapest, Hungary.

Seemann, A. (2015). "Pointing and Demonstrative Reference." Presented at the University of Connecticut's Pointing and Gestural Communication.

Seemann, A. (2014). "Collective Consciousness and the Biology Constraint." Presented at the Bristol University's Collectivity, Bristol, UK.

Seemann, A. (2014). "Groups, Explanation, and Collective Understanding." Presented at the University of Copenhagen's Thinking About Groups, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Seemann, A. (2014). "The Phenomenology of Face-to-Face Encounters." Presented at the University of Arizona, Tucson's Towards a Science of Consciousness, Tucson .

Seemann, A. (2014). "Joint Attention and the Self-Other Distinction." Presented at the University of Lisbon's Self and the Social, Lisbon, Portugal.

Seemann, A. (2013). "Joint Attention: A New Approach." Presented at the Gujarat Institute of Technology's Cognition, Emotion, and Action, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

Seemann, A. (2013). "The Role of Understanding in Demonstrative Reference." Presented at the UC Berkeley's Social Ontology Seminar, Berkeley CA.

Seemann, A. (2012). "Against Sharing: Intersubjectivity and Cross-Creature Embodiment." Presented at the University of Manchester's Collective Intentionality VIII, Manchester UK.

Seemann, A. (2012). "Against Sharing: Intersubjectivity and Cross-Creature Embodiment." Presented at the University of Ankara's Minds, Bodies, Problems, Ankara, Turkey.

Seemann, A. (2011). "The Social Dimension of Perceptual Experience." Presented at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness's Annual Meeting, Kyoto.

Seemann, A. (2011). "Joint Action: A Perception-based Approach." Presented at the University of Vienna's Joint Action Meeting, Vienna.

Seemann, A. (2011). "Mental Sharing, Cross-Creature Embodiment, and Mirror Neurons." Presented at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness's Neuroscience Satellite, Kyoto.

Seemann, A. (2011). "Perceptual Experience and the Study of What There Is." Presented at the Shalem Center 's Psycho-Ontology, Jerusalem.

Seemann, A. (2010). "From Feeling Perception to Joint Action: The Case for Social Externalism." Presented at the University of Basel's Collective Intentionality VII.

Seemann, A. (2010). "Intersubjectivity, Co-Operation, and Moral Agency." Presented at the University of Salamanca's Ethics and Emotions.

Seemann, A. (2010). "Narratives, Selves, and Common Cause Experiences." Presented at the American Philosophical Association's Pacific Division Meeting.

Seemann, A. (2010). "Gaze Following, Mirror Neurons, and Attentional Capture." Presented at the Duke University, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience's Research Meeting, Durham, NC.

Seemann, A. (2010). "Neuroscience: Affectivity, Adaptivity, and Learning in Organizations."

Seemann, A. (2009). "Sources of Trust: Feelings, Reasons, and the Participant Stance." Presented at the Ethics and Politics Without Borders: The Work of Onora O'Neill, British Academy, London.

Seemann, A. (2009). "The Other Person in Joint Attention." Presented at the Joint Attention: Developments in Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Philosophy of Mind, and, Bentley University, Waltham, MA.

Seemann, A. (2009). "Narrative, Causation, and Action Explanation."

Seemann, A. (2009). "The Evaluative Dimension of Self-Awareness."

Seemann, A. (2008). "Collectivity, Action, and Feelings." Presented at the Collective Intentionality VI, Berkeley, CA.

Seemann, A. (2007). "Action, Intention, and Narrative." Presented at the Narrative Alternatives to Theories of Mind, University of Hertfordshire.

Seemann, A. (2007). "Joint Attention and Group Membership." Presented at the Philosophy of Management, St. Anne's College, Oxford.

Seemann, A. (2007). "Joint Attention and Action." Presented at the Social Ontology Seminar, Berkeley, CA.

Seemann, A. (2007). "Joint Attention, Affective Perception, and Trust." Presented at the Understanding Other Minds and Moral Agency, College of the Holy Cross; Worcester, MA.

Seemann, A. (2006). "Collective Knowledge and the 'We'-Perspective." Presented at the Seminar on Social Ontology, Berkeley, CA.

Seemann, A. (2006). "Meanings of 'We'." Presented at the Wollheim Society, Berkeley, CA.

Seemann, A. (2005). "Brand Names, Sense, and Reference." Presented at the Philosophy of Management 05, Oxford.


Department Service
Committee Member for Sabbatical Committee, 2020 - Present
Assurance of Learning Champion, 2016 - 2019
LSM Advisor, 2014 - 2019
Champion!, 2017 - 2018
Major/Minor Advisor, 2016 - 2017
Interim Department Chair, 2016 - 2016

University Service
Committee Member for PhD Council , 2020 - Present
Department Chair for Philosophy Department, 2020 - Present
PhD Council Committee: Academic Standards, 2019 - 2019
PhD Council, 2018 - 2019
Salary&Benefits, 2017 - 2019
Member for University Senate, 2017 - 2019
Committee Member for Academic Standards - 2015
Task Force Member for Honors Programme, 2011 - 2011
Advisory Board, Valente Center, 2007 - 2011

Professional Service
Reviewer, Ad Hoc Reviewer for Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2021 - 2021
Conference Organisation Committee, 2020 - 2021
Reviewer, Ad Hoc Reviewer for Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2020 - 2020
Reviewer, Ad Hoc Reviewer for Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2020 - 2020
Reviewer, Journal Article for Human Development - 2014
Reviewer, Journal Article for Journal of Consciousness Studies - 2014
Reviewer, Journal Article for New Ideas in Psychology - 2014
Reviewer, Journal Article for Philosophical Psychology - 2014
Reviewer, Journal Article for Review of Philosophy and Psychology - 2014

Public Service
Guest Speaker for Experience By Design, 2020 - 2020