James Robert Brown

Department of Philosophy

University of Toronto







My Department homepage in the Philosophy Department


The Philosophy Department website















·      The Rational and the Social (Routledge 1989)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

·      Foundations of Seismology: Bringing Idealization Down to Earth (with Michael Slawinski) (World Scientific 2017)

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

·      Several other books edited.



Interests and Projects


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

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

·      Foundations of Physics (spacetime, QM, cosmology)

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




Selected audio/video/internet


·      Privatizing the University - The New Tragedy of the Commons (Science)

·      Thought Experiments (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

·      Video: Proofs and Pictures (Perimeter Institute)

·      Video: Thought Experiments (Perimeter Institute)

·      Audio: Why Einstein Matters - Panel discussion on Quirks & Quarks CBC Radio

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

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

·      Audio: What is Space Anyway?


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

·      Pure and Applied: Math and Ethics  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX9ydIVvPQQ



Editing and Organizing


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

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

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

·      Board of Editors of several journals



Other stuff (elected to:)


·      Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina – Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2004

·      Royal Society of Canada, 2007

·      Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences, 2010