We welcome Sidney Carls-Diamante to the Zukunftskolleg

Sidney Carls-Diamante is one of five new Postdoctoral Fellows from the 14th call for applications. She has started her fellowship in July and is affiliated with the Department of Philosophy.

“As a philosopher by training, I specialize in investigating underexplored topics in cognitive science that challenge standard conceptions and received views about the mind”, explains Sidney. “My research integrates scientific and medical findings with philosophical insights to generate novel perspectives on the structure and function of the mind.” Among her past research projects is a series of papers on cognition and consciousness in octopuses. In 2019, she was awarded the Werner Callebaut Prize for interdisciplinary research by the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology.

Sidney did her PhD at the University of Auckland, Australia. After that, she worked at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) in Klosterneuburg, Austria.

Her research project at the Zukunftskolleg introduces a philosophical dimension to research on bipolar disorder (BD), a severe and common psychiatric illness. It addresses the pressing need for humanistic research in psychiatry, wherein the existential concerns arising from mental illness are examined from the perspective of the patient’s life experiences. “The project explores the existential issues pertaining to the complex relationship between BD and personhood, and offers new perspectives on addressing these challenges”, states Sidney. “It explores questions such as the extent to which BD is part of the personality, the role of BD in structuring self-concepts, and the relationship between BD and creativity. These philosophical issues have extensive implications for the structure of treatment programs, improving the accuracy of personal and clinical recognition of symptoms and diagnostic practices, insurance coverage policies and government health care subsidies, and development of medications that effectively address the symptoms of BD without unpleasant side effects.”