James Robert Brown

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James Robert Brown (born 1949 in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian philosopher of science. He is a Professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. In the philosophy of mathematics, he has advocated mathematical Platonism, and in the philosophy of science he has defended scientific realism mostly against anti-realist views associated with social constructivism. He is largely known for his pioneering writing about thought experiments in science and in general.

In 2007, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


  • 1989 The Rational and the Social (Routledge 1989)
  • 1991 The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences (Routledge 1991, second edition 2010)
  • 1994 Smoke and Mirrors: How Science Reflects Reality (Routledge 1994)
  • 1999 Philosophy of Mathematics: An Introduction to the World of Proofs and Pictures (Routledge 1999, second edition 2008)
  • 2001 Who Rules in Science? An Opinionated Guide to the Wars (Harvard 2001)
  • 2012 Platonism, Naturalism, and Mathematical Knowledge (Routledge 2012)
  • 2012 Thought Experiments in Philosophy, Science, and the Arts (ed. with M. Frappier and L. Meynell ) (Routledge 2012)

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