Nicholas Shea

Nicholas Shea
PhD in Philosophy, King’s College, London
Barrister, Intellectual property litigation
BA in Mathematics 


Representation in Cognitive Science, Oxford University Press, 2018 [open access pdf] [OUP link]
On Millikan, Wadsworth, 2004



Shea, N. (forthcoming), 'Concepts', in Michael C. Frank and Asifa Majid (eds.) Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, MIT Press (online). [preprint pdf]

Shea, N. (forthcoming), 'Metacognition of Inferential Transitions', Journal of Philosophy. [preprint pdf]

Shea, N. (2023), 'Organized Representations Forming a Computationally Useful Processing Structure', Synthese[open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2023), 'Millikan’s Consistency Testers and the Cultural Evolution of Concepts', Evolutionary Linguistic Theory. [pre-print pdf] [link]

Miyamoto, K., Rushworth, M.F.S. & Shea, N. (2023), ‘Imagining the future self through thought experiments’, Trends in Cognitive Sciences[open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2022), ‘Concepts as Plug & Play Devices’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B[pre-print pdf]

Thorne, S. R., Smortchkova, J., Quilty-Dunn, J., Shea, N. & Hampton, J.A. (2022), ‘Is Concept Appraisal Modulated by Procedural or Declarative Manipulations?’, Frontiers in Psychology 13:774629. [open access pdf] [link]


Shea, N. (2023), ‘Moving Beyond Content-Specific Computation in Artificial Neural Networks’, Mind & Language[open access pdf] [link] 

Shea, N. (2022), ‘Representation in Cognitive Science by Nicholas Shea: Reply by the Author’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science[pre-print pdf] [link]

Thorne, S. R., Quilty-Dunn, J., Smortchkova, J., Shea, N.*, & Hampton, J. A. (2021), ‘Concept Appraisal’, Cognitive Science, 45, e12978. [open access pdf] [link]


Heyes, C., Bang, D., Shea, N., Frith, C.D. and Fleming, S.M. (2020) ‘Knowing Ourselves Together: The Cultural Origins of Metacognition’ Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24(5), pp. 349-362 [open access pdf] [link]

Bayne, T. & Shea, N. (2020), ‘Consciousness, Concepts, and Natural Kinds’, Philosophical Topics 48(1), 65-84.[open access pdf] [jstor link] 

Smortchkova, J. and Shea, N. (2020) ‘Metacognitive Development and Conceptual Change in Children’ Review of Philosophy and Psychology [pre-print pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2020) 'Representation in Cognitive Science - Replies', Mind & Langauge, 35(3), pp. 402-412 [pre-print pdf] [link]

Shea, N. & C. D. Frith (2019), ‘The Global Workspace Needs Metacognition’, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(7), pp. 560-571 [open access pdf] [link]
Shea, N. (2019) ‘Concept-Metacognition’ Mind & Language [open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2019) ‘Functionalist Interrelations Amongst Human Psychological States Inter Se, ditto for Martians’, in Smortchkova, J., Dolega, K., Schlicht, T. (eds.) What Are Mental Representations? (Oxford: OUP) [pre-print pdf]


Shea, N. (2018) 'Metacognition and Abstract Concepts' Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 373: 20170133. [open access pdf] [link]

Shea, N., Godfrey-Smith, P. & Cao, R. (2018) ‘Content in Simple Signalling Systems’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science [open access pdf] [link]


Travers, E., Frith, C. D. and Shea, N. (2017) ‘Learning Rapidly about the Relevance of Visual Cues Requires Conscious Awareness’, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology [pre-print pdf] [link]
Shea, N. and Frith, C. F. (2016) ‘Dual-Process Theories and Consciousness: The Case for “Type Zero” Cognition’, Neuroscience of Consciousness, 2016(1), niw005 [open access pdf]  [link] [Brains Blog symposium]

Shea, N. (2016), 'Representational development need not be explicable-by-content', in Vincent C. Muller (ed.) Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence (Springer: Synthese Library), pp. 221-238 [pre-print pdf]


Shea, N. (2015), 'Distinguishing Top-Down From Bottom-Up Effects', in S. Biggs, M. Matthen and D. Stokes (eds.), Perception and Its Modalities (OUP), pp. 73-91 [pre-print pdf] [link]

English, S., Pen, I., Shea, N. & Uller, T. (2015), ‘The Information Value of Non-Genetic Inheritance in Plants and Animals’, PloS One. 10(1): e0116996 [open access link]


Shea, N., Boldt, A., Bang, D., Yeung, N., Heyes, C. and Frith, C. D. (2014) 'Supra-personal cognitive control and metacognition', Trends in Cognitive Sciences 18(4), pp. 186-193 [open access pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2014), 'Exploitable isomorphism and structural representation', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 64(2) [pre-print pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2014), 'Reward prediction error signals are meta-representational', Nous, 48(2), pp. 314-341 [open access pdf]   [link]
Shea, N. (2014), 'Neural signalling of probabilistic vectors', Philosophy of Science, 81(5), pp. 902-913 [pre-print pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2014), ‘Two Modes of Transgenerational Information Transmission’, in B. Calcott et al. (eds.) Signaling, Commitment, and Emotion (MIT Press) [pre-print pdf]
Shea, N. (2014), 'Using phenomenal concepts to explain away the intuition of contingency', Philosophical Psychology, 27(4), pp. 553-570 [pre-print pdf]  [link]

Powell, R. & Shea, N. (2014), 'Homology across inheritance systems', Biology and Philosophy [pre-print pdf]  [link]


Shea, N. (2013), 'Naturalising representational content', Philosophy Compass, 8(5), pp. 496-509 [open access pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2013), 'Inherited Representations are Read in Development', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 64(1), pp. 1-31 [open access pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2013), 'Neural mechanisms of decision-making and the personal level', in KWM Fulford, M Davies, G Graham, J Sadler, G Stanghellini and T Thornton (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (OUP) [pre-print pdf]

Shea, N. (2013), 'Millikan's Isomorphism Requirement', in D. Ryder, J. Kingsbury & K. Williford (eds.) Millikan and Her Critics (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell) [pre-print pdf] [link]


Shea, N. (2012), 'New thinking, innateness and inherited representation', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367, pp. 2234-44 [open access pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2012), ‘Methodological Encounters with the Phenomenal Kind’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 84(2), pp. 307-344 [open access pdf]  [link] 
Shea, N. (2012), 'Genetic representation explains the cluster of innateness-related properties', Mind & Language, 27(4), pp. 466-493 [open access pdf]  [link]

Mars, R.B.*, Shea, N.J.*, Kolling, N. and Rushworth, M.F.S. (2012). ‘Model-based analyses: Promises, pitfalls, and example applications to the study of cognitive control’, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(2), pp. 252-267 (* joint first authors) [open access pdf] [link]


Shea, N. (2011), 'Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim About Inherited Information',Philosophy of Science 78, pp. 60-82 [open access pdf]  [link] 

Shea, N., Pen, I., Uller, T. (2011), ‘Three epigenetic information channels and their different roles in evolution’, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24, pp. 1178-87 [open access pdf]  [link]

Shea, N. (2011), ‘What's Transmitted?  Inherited Information.’ Biology & Philosophy 26(2), pp. 183-189 [pre-print pdf]  [link] [target article]

Shea, N. (2011), 'New concepts can be learned', review essay on Susan Carey, The Origin of Concepts (OUP, 2009), Biology & Philosophy 26, 129-139 [pre-print pdf]  [link]


Shea, N. and Bayne, T. (2010), ‘The Vegetative State and the Science of Consciousness’,British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61459-484 [open access pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. and Heyes, C. (2010) ‘Metamemory as evidence of animal consciousness: the type that does the trick’, Biology & Philosophy 25, 95-110 [open access pdf]  [link]
Shea, N., (2009) ‘Imitation as an inheritance system’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 3642429-2443 [pre-print pdf]  [published pdf]

Shea, N., Krug, K. and Tobler, P.N., (2008) ‘Conceptual representations in goal-directed decision making’, Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 8(4), 418-428 [published pdf]  [link] [journal doi]


Shea, N. (2007) ‘Consumers Need Information: supplementing teleosemantics with an input condition’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 75(2), 404-435 [pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2007) ‘Content and Its Vehicles in Connectionist Systems’, Mind & Language,22(3), 246-269 [pdf] [link]

Shea, N. (2007) ‘Representation in the genome and in other inheritance systems’ Biology and Philosophy, 22, 313-331 [pdf]  [link]

Shea, N. (2006) 'The Biological Basis of Cultural Transmission', review of Kim Sterelny,Thought in a Hostile World (Blackwell, 2003), British Journal for the Philosophy of Science57, 259-266 [pdf]  [link]
Shea, N. (2006) ‘Millikan’s Contribution to Materialist Philosophy of Mind’ (in French translation) Matière Première, Vol. 1, Feb 2006, pp. 127-156 [pdf]
Shea, N. (2003) ‘Does Externalism Entail the Anomalism of the Mental?’, Philosophical Quarterly, 53, 201–213 [pdf] [link]  [Jstor]
Shea, N. (2002), 'Getting Clear About Equivocal Concepts: Critical Review of Millikan's on Clear and Confused Ideas', Disputatio 13, pp. 34-47 [unedited draft]
Papineau, D. and Shea, N. (2002) 'Ruth Millikan's On Clear and Confused Ideas', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65(2), pp. 453-466 [pdf]  [link] 


Short Reviews

Shea, N. (2013) 'Perception vs. Action: the computations may be the same but the direction of fit differs', Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36(3), pp. 228-9 [pre-print pdf] 
Shea, N. (2011), 'Acquiring a new concept is not explicable-by-content', Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34(3), pp. 148-149  [pre-print pdf]  [pdf] [link]
Shea, N. (2009) ‘Review of R. G. Millikan, Varieties of Meaning’, Philosophical Review, 118(1), pp. 127 - 130 [pre-print pdf]
Shea, N. (2005), 'Varieties of Meaning: The 2002 Jean Nicod Lectures by Ruth Millikan',Quarterly Review of Biology, 80(3), p. 344 [link]
Shea, N. (2003), 'Functions in Mind by Carolyn Price', Philosophical Quarterly, 53, pp. 129-132 [link]


  • Philosophy of mind
  • Philosophy of psychology and cognitive science
  • Philosophy of artificial intelligence
  • Theories of representational content
  • Concepts
  • Philosophy of biology
  • Inheritance systems
  • Evolution of cognition