PhD Cohort 2019
Funding: AHRC DTP
Project Title: Mind Matters: Towards the Incorporation of Panpsychism from Analytic Philosophy of Mind within the Doctrine of Creation
Supervisors: Prof David Fergusson and Prof Mark Harris, School of Divinity
What was your research about?
Analytic philosophy of mind has recently seen a revival of interest in a theory about consciousness called panpsychism. Panpsychism is the idea that consciousness is fundamental and ubiquitous throughout reality; in some minimal way, everything contains consciousness. My research evaluated this idea and considered how compatible it is with Christianity. I argued that panpsychism is a plausible way for Christianity to articulate God’s presence in creation and creation’s worship of God.
What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?
I wanted to be an academic in the humanities since I was about 10 years old.
Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?
I loved every minute. Even the long days in the library, where it felt like I achieved too little. The existential struggle of what I was doing with my life. But most of all, I enjoy the community both in my HEI and internationally through attending conferences.
How has your PhD helped you to decide on a career path?
I built the necessary skills to be a Lecturer through completing my PhD – although I still had lots to learn in my post-doc years too. Doing PhD confirmed that I loved researching and teaching theology/philosophy enough to spend the rest of my life doing it. My PhD was published as a monograph in 2021.
I am a Lecturer in Liberal Arts and Theology at the University of Leeds.
I am writing a second monograph on how theologians can incorporate empirical research into their work and a third on autism and Christianity.
One piece of advice you would give an incoming PhD researcher?
Be disciplined with your time and treat the PhD like a 9-5 job, and take weekends off.
You’re probably not going to save the world – don’t take it too seriously. Try and have friends (and a life!) outside of academia.
Everyone has imposter syndrome – you deserve to be here!
Where can people find you?
Staff profiles: https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/philosophy/staff/3700/dr-joanna-leidenhag