James Robert Brown

Department of Philosophy

University of Toronto

Toronto M5R 2M8





<Philosophy Department Home Page>





Courses (2016-17)


·      PHL 346 S  Philosophy of Mathematics (Wednesdays 2:00 – 4 pm)

·      PHL 356 S  Philosophy of Physics (Thursdays 9:30 – Noon)



·      The Rational and the Social (Routledge 1989)

·      The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences (Routledge 1991, second edition 2010) <NOTES>  

·      Smoke and Mirrors: How Science Reflects Reality (Routledge 1994) <NOTES>

·      Philosophy of Mathematics: An Introduction to the World of Proofs and Pictures (Routledge 1999, second edition 2008) <NOTES>  

·      Who Rules in Science? An Opinionated Guide to the Wars (Harvard 2001) <LINK to HUP> , <NOTES>

·      Platonism, Naturalism, and Mathematical Knowledge (Routledge 2012)  LINK to Amazon

·      Philosophy of Science: The Key Thinkers (edited) (Continuum 2012)  LINK to Amazon

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


Forthcoming Books

·      Seismology: Bringing Idealization Down to Earth (with Michael Slawinski) (World Scientific)

·      Subtle Matter: A History of Aether (Oxford)

·      Philosophy of Science (Plenum)


Interests & Projects 

·      Philosophy of Science (including thought experiments, scientific realism, methodology, the relation of modern science to traditional and indigenous knowledge)

·      Philosophy of Mathematics (including Platonism, naturalism, nature of applied mathematics, diagrams and visual reasoning)

·      Foundations of Physics (space & time, quantum mechanics, the nature of symmetry)

·      Social Relations of Science (including social constructivism and objectivity, science and religion, the effects of commercialization on research, science and politics)



·      Co-Director (1985-) of the Annual Philosophy of Science Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia <Poster>

·      Editor (1996 - 2001) of the journal, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science <ISPS>

·      Co-Editor (1990 - 2000) of the book series, Toronto Studies in Philosophy <TSP>

·      Associate Editor (2005 - 08) Episteme (A journal of social epistemology) <Episteme>


Articles & Audio/Video Lectures on the Internet

·      “Privatizing the University - The New Tragedy of the Commons” (Science) <connect>

·      “Thought Experiments” (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy) <connect>

·      Video: “Proofs and Pictures” (Perimeter Institute) <connect>

·      Video: “Thought Experiments” (Perimeter Institute) <connect>

·      Audio: “Why Einstein Matters” Panel discussion on Quirks & Quarks CBC Radio <connect>

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

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

·      Audio: “What is Space Anyway?”  http://starspotpodcast.com/2013/07/12/philosophers-eye-astronomy-james-robert-brown/

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