John O'Dea

Associate Professor,

Culture and Representation Program,

Dept of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies,

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences,

The University of Tokyo


Building 18, Room 507

The University of Tokyo,

Komaba Campus,

3-8-1 Komaba,

Meguro, Tokyo 153-8902



Tel: 03 5465 6284



Books in which I have a chapter:

Research Interests

I work on philosophy of mind, and in particular the phenomenology and content of perception in the context of a variety of debates in analytic philosophy. I am currently working particularly on the problem of perceptual constancy, which on the one hand enables veridical perception of colour, shape and size, and on the other seems to involve attributing contradictory properties — including the famous elliptical look of a tilted coin.

I am currently receiving a grant from the Japanese government for research on "Understanding Perceptual Representation" (Kaken grant number 25770003).


I have been Associate Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies since April 2013. I have been with UT since 2006, when I arrived in Japan to take up a JSPS postdoctoral fellowship in Philosophy. Prior to 2006 I spent 3 years as postdoctoral fellow in the Philosophy Program of RSSS, ANU, Canberra. In 2002 I graduated with a Ph.D. in philosophy from Monash University, Melbourne. I spent the 1997-8 American academic year in graduate coursework in the Philosophy Dept of the University Maryland (College Park). Before that I studied philosophy and psychology toward a B.A. (Hons) (1996) from The University of Queensland, Brisbane, where I was born and near where I was raised.

Recent Talks

March 24th & 27th (2014), Universities of Glasgow & Birmingham
"Why, and in what sense, things look different in the shade: solving the puzzle of constancy."

Main Publications

"Art and Ambiguity: A Gestalt-Shift Approach to Elusive Appearances. In Phenomenal Presence, edited by F. Macpherson, M. Nida-Rümelin & F. Dorsch, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

"A Proprioceptive Account of the Senses." In Fiona Macpherson (ed.), The Senses: Classical and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 2011.

"Transparency and the Unity of Experience." In E. Wright (ed.), The Case for Qualia. MIT Press. 2008.

"The Value in Equal Opportunity: Reply to Kershnar." Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (2):177–187. 2007.

"Representationalism, Supervenience, and the Cross-Modal Problem." Philosophical Studies 130 (2):285-95. 2006.

"The Indexical Nature of Sensory Concepts." Philosophical Papers 32 (2):169-181. 2002.


Undergraduate: Historical Introduction to Analytic Philosophy
Graduate: Philosophy of the Senses seminar (Audition, Touch)

Professional Affiliations

Japan Association for Philosophy of Science (科学基礎論学会)