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James Robert Brown
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
  1.  96
    The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences.James Robert Brown - 1991 - Routledge.
    Newton's bucket, Einstein's elevator, Schrödinger's cat – these are some of the best-known examples of thought experiments in the natural sciences. But what function do these experiments perform? Are they really experiments at all? Can they help us gain a greater understanding of the natural world? How is it possible that we can learn new things just by thinking? In this revised and updated new edition of his classic text _The Laboratory of the Mind_, James Robert Brown continues to defend (...)
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  2. Platonism, Naturalism, and Mathematical Knowledge.James Robert Brown - 2011 - Routledge.
    This study addresses a central theme in current philosophy: Platonism vs Naturalism and provides accounts of both approaches to mathematics, crucially discussing Quine, Maddy, Kitcher, Lakoff, Colyvan, and many others. Beginning with accounts of both approaches, Brown defends Platonism by arguing that only a Platonistic approach can account for concept acquisition in a number of special cases in the sciences. He also argues for a particular view of applied mathematics, a view that supports Platonism against Naturalist alternatives. Not only does (...)
     
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  3.  12
    Who Rules in Science? An Opinionated Guide to the Wars.James Robert Brown - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
    This eye-opening book reveals how little we've understood about the ongoing pitched battles between the sciences and the humanities--and how much may be at ...
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  4.  72
    Philosophy of Mathematics: A Contemporary Introduction to the World of Proofs and Pictures.James Robert Brown - 2008 - Routledge.
    1. Introduction : the mathematical image -- 2. Platonism -- 3. Picture-proofs and Platonism -- 4. What is applied mathematics? -- 5. Hilbert and Gödel -- 6. Knots and notation -- 7. What is a definition? -- 8. Constructive approaches -- 9. Proofs, pictures and procedures in Wittgenstein -- 10. Computation, proof and conjecture -- 11. How to refute the continuum hypothesis -- 12. Calling the bluff.
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  5. Who Rules in Science? An Opinionated Guide to the Wars.James Robert Brown - 2001 - Science and Society 67 (1):111-113.
     
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  6.  75
    Philosophy of Mathematics: An Introduction to a World of Proofs and Pictures.James Robert Brown - 1999 - Routledge.
    _Philosophy of Mathematics_ is an excellent introductory text. This student friendly book discusses the great philosophers and the importance of mathematics to their thought. It includes the following topics: * the mathematical image * platonism * picture-proofs * applied mathematics * Hilbert and Godel * knots and nations * definitions * picture-proofs and Wittgenstein * computation, proof and conjecture. The book is ideal for courses on philosophy of mathematics and logic.
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  7.  44
    The Rational and the Social.James Robert Brown - 1989 - Routledge.
    THE SOCIOLOGICAL TURN The problem we are concerned with is just this: How should we understand science? Are we to account for scientific knowledge (or ...
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  8. Peeking Into Plato’s Heaven.James Robert Brown - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1126-1138.
    Examples of classic thought experiments are presented and some morals drawn. The views of my fellow symposiasts, Tamar Gendler, John Norton, and James McAllister, are evaluated. An account of thought experiments along a priori and Platonistic lines is given. I also cite the related example of proving theorems in mathematics with pictures and diagrams. To illustrate the power of these methods, a possible refutation of the continuum hypothesis using a thought experiment is sketched.
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  9. Proofs and Pictures.James Robert Brown - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (2):161-180.
    Everyone appreciates a clever mathematical picture, but the prevailing attitude is one of scepticism: diagrams, illustrations, and pictures prove nothing; they are psychologically important and heuristically useful, but only a traditional verbal/symbolic proof provides genuine evidence for a purported theorem. Like some other recent writers (Barwise and Etchemendy [1991]; Shin [1994]; and Giaquinto [1994]) I take a different view and argue, from historical considerations and some striking examples, for a positive evidential role for pictures in mathematics.
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  10. Why Thought Experiments Transcend Experience.James Robert Brown - 2004 - In Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. pp. 23-43.
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  11. Why Empiricism Won't Work.James Robert Brown - 2004 - In C. Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science.
    A defence of a priori knowledge of nature via thought experiments. The article is part of a pair, the counter-view argued by John Norton.
     
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  12.  86
    Politics, Method, and Medical Research.James Robert Brown - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):756-766.
    There is sufficient evidence that intellectual property rights are corrupting medical research. One could respond to this from a moral or from an epistemic point of view. I take the latter route. Often in the sciences factual discoveries lead to new methodological norms. Medical research is an example. Surprisingly, the methodological change required will involve political change. Instead of new regulations aimed at controlling the problem, the outright socialization of research seems called for, for the sake of better science. I (...)
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  13.  85
    Thought Experiments Since the Scientific Revolution.James Robert Brown - 1986 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1 (1):1 – 15.
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  14.  51
    Smoke and Mirrors: How Science Reflects Reality.James Robert Brown - 1994 - Routledge.
    In Smoke and Mirrors , James Robert Brown fights back against figures such as Richard Rorty, Bruno Latour, Michael Ruse and Hilary Putnam who have attacked realistic accounts of science. This enlightening work also demonstrates that science mirrors the world in amazing ways. The metaphysics and epistemology of science, the role of abstraction, abstract objects, and a priori ways of getting at reality are all examined in this fascinating exploration of how science reflects reality. Both a defense of science and (...)
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  15. The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.) - 2018 - London: Routledge.
    Thought experiments are a means of imaginative reasoning that lie at the heart of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to the modern era, and they also play central roles in a range of fields, from physics to politics. The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments is an invaluable guide and reference source to this multifaceted subject. Comprising over 30 chapters by a team of international contributors, the Companion covers the following important areas: -/- · the history of thought experiments, from antiquity to (...)
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  16.  20
    How Do Feynman Diagrams Work?James Robert Brown - 2018 - Perspectives on Science 26 (4):423-442.
    Feynman diagrams are now iconic. Like pictures of the Bohr atom, everyone knows they have something important to do with physics. Those who work in quantum field theory, string theory, and other esoteric fields of physics use them extensively. In spite of this, it is far from clear what they are or how they work. Are they mere calculating tools? Are they somehow pictures of physical reality? Are they models in any interesting sense? Or do they play some other kind (...)
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  17. Thought Experiments. [REVIEW]James Robert Brown & Yiftach J. H. Fehige - 1995 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
  18.  11
    Introduction.James Robert Brown - 2018 - Perspectives on Science 26 (4):419-422.
    Feynman diagrams have fascinated physicists and philosophers since they were introduced to the world about 70 years ago. Clearly, they help in calculation; they have allowed nearly impossible problems to be solved with relative ease. This is agreed by all, but that is probably where the consensus ends. Are they pictures of physical processes? Are they just devices for keeping track of mathematical formulae, that do the real work? Are they some sort of mix of both?They are almost as famous (...)
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  19. Counter Thought Experiments.James Robert Brown - 2007 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 61:155-177.
    Let's begin with an old example. In De Rerum Naturua , Lucretius presented a thought experiment to show that space is infinite. We imagine ourselves near the alleged edge of space; we throw a spear; we see it either sail through the ‘edge’ or we see it bounce back. In the former case the ‘edge’ isn't the edge, after all. In the latter case, there must be something beyond the ‘edge’ that repelled the spear. Either way, the ‘edge’ isn't really (...)
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  20. Philosophy of Mathematics, an Introduction to the World of Proofs and Pictures.James Robert Brown - 2003 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 9 (4):504-506.
     
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  21.  65
    Why Empiricism Won't Work.James Robert Brown - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:271-279.
    Thought experiments provide us with scientific understanding and theoretical advances which are sometimes quite significant, yet they do this without new empirical input, and possibly without any empirical input at all. How is this possible? The challenge to empiricism is to give an account which is compatible with the traditional empiricist principle that all knowledge is based on sensory experience. Thought experiments present an enormous challenge to empiricist views of knowledge; so much so that some of us have thrown in (...)
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  22.  19
    Review of Otávio Bueno and Steven French's Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretations. [REVIEW]Atoosa Kasirzadeh & James Robert Brown - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
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  23.  7
    Otavio Bueno and Steven French. Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation.Atoosa Kasirzadeh & James Robert Brown - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (1):207-211.
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  24. Smoke and Mirrors: How Science Reflects Reality.James Robert Brown - 1994 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (4):1059-1062.
     
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  25.  34
    Scientific Rationality: The Sociological Turn.James Robert Brown - 1984 - D. Reidel Publishing Company.
  26. Thought Experiments in Science, Philosophy, and Mathematics.James Robert Brown - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):3-27.
    Most disciplines make use of thought experiments, but physics and philosophy lead the pack with heavy dependence upon them. Often this is for conceptual clarification, but occasionally they provide real theoretical advances. In spite of their importance, however, thought experiments have received rather little attention as a topic in their own right until recently. The situation has improved in the past few years, but a mere generation ago the entire published literature on thought experiments could have been mastered in a (...)
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  27. James Robert Brown: Thought Experiments and Platonism. Part Two.Nancy J. Nersessian, Dunja Jutronic, Ksenija Puskaric, Nenad Miscevic, Andreas K. A. Georgiou & James Robert Brown - 2007 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (20):125-268.
     
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  28.  85
    Funding, Objectivity and the Socialization of Medical Research.James Robert Brown - 2002 - Science and Engineering Ethics 8 (3):295--308.
    There has been a sharp rise in private funding of medical research, especially in relation to patentable products. Several serious problems with this are described. A solution involving the elimination of patents and public funding administered through extended national health care systems is proposed.
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  29.  53
    Money, Method and Medical Research.James Robert Brown - 2004 - Episteme 1 (1):49-59.
    It's sometimes useful to start with a quiz, even if it seems irrelevant to the issues at hand. Suppose you have to organize a tennis tournament with, say, 1025 players. Match winners will go on to the next round while losers bow out until all have been eliminated except, of course, the final champion. Your problem is this: How many matches must you book for this tournament?
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  30. The Miracle of Science.James Robert Brown - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (128):232-244.
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  31.  11
    The Search for Certainty: A Philosophical Account of Foundations of Mathematics.James Robert Brown - 2004 - Mind 113 (449):177-179.
  32. What is a Definition?James Robert Brown - 1998 - Foundations of Science 3 (1):111-132.
    According to the standard view of definition, all defined terms are mere stipulations, based on a small set of primitive terms. After a brief review of the Hilbert-Frege debate, this paper goes on to challenge the standard view in a number of ways. Examples from graph theory, for example, suggest that some key definitions stem from the way graphs are presented diagramatically and do not fit the standard view. Lakatos's account is also discussed, since he provides further examples that suggest (...)
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  33.  74
    Science, Truth, and Democracy.James Robert Brown - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (11):599-606.
  34.  21
    Postmodernism and Science Education: An Appraisal.Jim Mackenzie, Ron Good & James Robert Brown - 2014 - In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. pp. 1057-1086.
    Over the past 50 years, postmodernism has been a progressively growing and influential intellectual movement inside and outside the academy. Postmodernism is characterised by rejection of parts or the whole of the Enlightenment project that had its roots in the birth and embrace of early modern science. While Enlightenment and ‘modernist’ ideas of universalism, of intellectual and cultural progress, of the possibility of finding truths about the natural and social world and of rejection of absolutism and authoritarianism in politics, philosophy (...)
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  35. Thought Experiments in Science, Philosophy, and the Arts.Melanie Frappier, Letitia Meynell & James Robert Brown (eds.) - 2012 - Routledge.
    From Lucretius throwing a spear beyond the boundary of the universe to Einstein racing against a beam of light, thought experiments stand as a fascinating challenge to the necessity of data in the empirical sciences. Are these experiments, conducted uniquely in our imagination, simply rhetorical devices or communication tools or are they an essential part of scientific practice? This volume surveys the current state of the debate and explores new avenues of research into the epistemology of thought experiments.
     
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  36.  50
    Foundations Without Foundationalism: A Case for Second-Order Logic Stewart Shapiro Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991, Xx + 277 Pp. [REVIEW]James Robert Brown - 1996 - Dialogue 35 (3):624-626.
  37.  45
    Kitcher’s Mathematical Naturalism.James Robert Brown - 2003 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):1-20.
    Recent years have seen a number of naturalist accounts of mathematics. Philip Kitcher’s version is one of the most important and influential. This paper includes a critical exposition of Kitcher’s views and a discussion of several issues including: mathematical epistemology, practice, history, the nature of applied mathematics. It argues that naturalism is an inadequate account and compares it with mathematical Platonism, to the advantage of the latter.
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  38.  23
    History and the Norms of Science.James Robert Brown - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:236 - 248.
    Starting from the assumption that the history of science is, in some significant sense, rational and thus that historical episodes may serve as evidence in choosing between competing normative methodologies of science, the question arises: "Just what is this history-methodology evidential relation?" After examining the proposals of Laudan, a more plausible account is proposed.
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  39. The Shaky Game: Einstein, Realism, and the Quantum Theory Arthur Fine Chicaco, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Pp. Xi, 186. $25.00. [REVIEW]James Robert Brown - 1987 - Dialogue 26 (4):776.
  40.  26
    Underdetermination and the Social Side of Science.James Robert Brown - 1995 - Dialogue 34 (1):147-.
  41.  68
    Rescher's Evolutionary Epistemology.James Robert Brown - 1985 - Philosophia 15 (3):287-300.
  42.  24
    First Page Preview.James W. McAllister, Lars Bergström, James Robert Brown, Martin Carrier, Nancy Cartwright, Jiwei Ci, David Davies, Catherine Elgin, Márta Fehér & Michel Ghins - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (4).
  43.  74
    Marco Panza and Andrea Sereni. Plato's Problem: An Introduction to Mathematical Platonism. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. ISBN 978-0-230-36548-3 (Hbk); 978-0-230-36549-0 (Pbk); 978-1-13726147-2 (E-Book); 978-1-13729813-3 (Pdf). Pp. Xi + 306. [REVIEW]James Robert Brown - 2013 - Philosophia Mathematica (1):nkt031.
  44.  32
    Latour’s Prosaic Science.James Robert Brown - 1991 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):245-261.
    The most embarrassing thing about ‘facts’ is the etymology of the word. The Latin facere means to make or construct. Bruno Latour, like so many other anti-realists who revel in the word’s history, thinks facts are made by us: they are a social construction. The view acquires some plausibility in Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts which Latour co-authored with Steve Woolgar.1 This work, first published a decade ago, has become a classic in the sociology of science literature. (...)
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  45.  65
    Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind.James Robert Brown - 1983 - International Philosophical Quarterly 23 (2):226-227.
  46.  96
    Grounding Concepts: An Empirical Basis for Arithmetical Knowledge – C.S. Jenkins.James Robert Brown & James Davies - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):208-211.
  47.  56
    Katerina Ierodiakonou and Sophie Roux, Eds. Thought Experiments in Methodological and Historical Contexts. Leiden: Brill, 2011. Pp. Vii+233. €99.00. [REVIEW]James Robert Brown & Michael T. Stuart - 2013 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 3 (1):154-157.
  48.  66
    What is Applied Mathematics?James Robert Brown - 1997 - Foundations of Science 2 (1):21-37.
    A number of issues connected with the nature of applied mathematics are discussed. Among the claims are these: mathematics "hooks onto" the world by providing models or representations, not by describing the world; classic platonism is to be preferred to structuralism; and several issues in the philosophy of science are intimately connected to the nature of applied mathematics.
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  49.  32
    Critical Notice of Roy Sorensen Thought Experiments.James Robert Brown - 1995 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
    This book adds to the growing literature on thought experiments. There are numerous examples drawn from the sciences and philosophy. The principle claim is that thought experiments are a limiting case of real experiments. It is a moderate empiricist view, in contrast to, e.g., the Platonism of Brown or the strict empiricism of Norton. Highly recommended.
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  50. Constructivism and Science: Essays in Recent German Philosophy.Robert E. Butts & James Robert Brown (eds.) - 1989 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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