Walter is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Peter Godfrey-Smith and Paul Griffiths in the School of History and Philosophy of Science. He received an MA in Philosophy of the Biological and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Bristol under the supervision of Samir Okasha, and a BA in Philosophy & Economics from the University of Bayreuth under the supervision of Rainer Hegselmann. His interests stretch widely across science and philosophy, with his primary research interests being located at the intersection of the biological, behavioral, and cognitive sciences.
His PhD dissertation is centered around three separate questions: (i) what is health and disease?, (ii) how did organisms evolve the capacity to detect and respond to dysfunction and pathology?, and (iii) what are the origins of consciousness, sentience, and agency? His thesis argues that sentience and consciousness are a 'mere' byproduct of the evolution of pathology/dysfunction detection, nociception, and pain. The very same reason that allows scientists to usefully group a set of widely diverse phenomena together as 'pathological states', allows organisms to usefully track a set of diverse phenomena detrimental to their fitness, proper functioning, and welfare, thus enabling something that may, akin to Daniel Dennett's intentional stance, be called the health/pathological stance.