James Robert Brown

Department of Philosophy

University of Toronto

























My Department homepage in the Philosophy Department


The Philosophy Department website






Courses (2017)


Š      PHL 346 S  Philosophy of Mathematics (Wednesdays 2:30 – 5 pm, Room CR 103)

Š      PHL 356 S  Philosophy of Physics (Thursdays 9:30 – Noon)  (Room SS1084)





Š      The Rational and the Social (Routledge 1989)

Š      The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences (Routledge 1991, second edition 2010)

Š      Smoke and Mirrors: How Science Reflects Reality (Routledge 1994)

Š      Philosophy of Mathematics: A Contemporary Introduction to the World of Proofs and Pictures (Routledge 1999, second edition 2008)

Š      Who Rules in Science? An Opinionated Guide to the Wars (Harvard 2001)

Š      Platonism, Naturalism, and Mathematical Knowledge (Routledge 2012)

Š      Philosophy of Science: The Key Thinkers (edited) (Continuum 2012)

Š      Thought Experiments in Philosophy, Science, and the Arts (ed. with M. Frappier and L. Meynell ) (Routledge 2012)

Š      Foundations of Seismology: Bringing Idealization Down to Earth (with Michael Slawinski) (World Scientific forthcoming)

Š      Thought Experiments Handbook (edited with M. Stuart and Y. Fehege) (Routledge 2017)

Š      Several other books edited.



Interests and Projects


Š      Philosophy of Science (including thought experiments, scientific realism)

Š      Philosophy of Mathematics (including Platonism, naturalism, nature of applied mathematics, diagrams and visual reasoning, relation to ethics)

Š      Foundations of Physics (spacetime, QM, cosmology)

Š      Social Relations of Science (social constructivism, science and religion, commercialization on research, especially pharmaceutical)




Editing and Organizing


Š      Co-Director (1985-) of the Annual Philosophy of Science Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Š      Editor (1996 - 2001) of the journal, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science

Š      Co-Editor (1990 - 2000) of the book series, Toronto Studies in Philosophy

Š      Board of Editors of several journals



Selected audio/video/internet


Š      “Privatizing the University - The New Tragedy of the Commons” (Science)

Š      “Thought Experiments” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Š      Video: “Proofs and Pictures” (Perimeter Institute)

Š      Video: “Thought Experiments” (Perimeter Institute)

Š      Audio: “Why Einstein Matters” Panel discussion on Quirks & Quarks CBC Radio

Š      Video: Debates on TVO (1) Science and Religion, (2) Assault on Science

Š      Video: “Patents and Progress: Crisis in Commercialized Medical Research”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4biZj2N6pXo

Š      Audio: “What is Space Anyway?”  

Š      http://starspotpodcast.com/2013/07/12/philosophers-eye-astronomy-james-robert-brown/

Š      Video: Ideas Road Show: Platonism http://www.ideasroadshow.com/issues/james-robert-brown-2013-04-12