Matthew Brown

Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas
Director, Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology
Program Head for History and Philosophy

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Philosophy
University of California, San Diego - 2009
M.A. - Philosophy
University of California, San Diego - 2006
B.S. - Physics
Georgia Tech - 2003

Research Areas

Matthew J. Brown, Ph.D.

My main area of research is in philosophy of science, where I have focused on the nature of models and of scientific evidence, as well as on the role of experiment in the scientific process, of values in science, and of scientific evidence in policy. I have been working out a philosophical pragmatist theory of scientific method, and I have begun to  apply that theory to understand issues at the intersection of science with values and policy.  The latter has been significantly aided by my work with the UT-Dallas Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology.

I  have further research interests in the history of philosophy of science relevant to these topics.  I have devoted particular attention to the study of John Dewey's writings on scientific method and the logic of inquiry, as well as Paul Feyerabend's critical and positive work on method and models.  I have a more general interest in investigating the development of philosophy of science as a discipline.  

I also work in the history and philosophy of psychology and cognitive science, both the early history (1880-1940), and in recent debates in cognitive science related to the emergence of theories of cognition called social, distributed, extended, etc.  I regard myself as engaged in the project that Ed Hutchins describes in Cognition in the Wild: "I hope to show that human cognition... is in a very fundamental sense a cultural and social process."

In the near future, my main research plans involve finishing a series of papers on the nature of evidence, where I set out a model of evidence that is functionalist, complex, dynamical, and contextual and the development of a model of the interaction of science and democracy relevant both to debates about the democratization of science and to initiatives for evidence-based public policy.  I'm also finishing a series of papers on John Dewey's philosophy of science and William Moulton Marston's theory of the emotions.
 

Publications

Genuine Problems and the Significance of Science - Journal Article
Models and Perspectives on Stage: Remarks on Giere's Scientific Perspectivism - Journal Article
Policy-Relevance, Neutrality, and the IPCC - Journal Article
Relational Quantum Mechanics and the Determinacy Problem - Journal Article
The Roles of Implicit Understanding of Engineering Ethics in Student Teams' Discussion - Journal Article
"The Democratic Control of the Scientic Control of Democracy." In Recent Progress in Philosophy of Science: Perspectives and Foundational Problems, edited by Dennis Dieks and Vassilios Karakostas. Dordrecht: Springer, forthcoming. forthcoming - Publication
"Values in Science beyond Underdetermination and Inductive Risk." Philosophy of Science, forthcoming. forthcoming - Publication
Ethics as a rare bird: a challenge for situated studies of ethics in the engineering lab 2019 - Journal Article
The Roles of Implicit Understanding of Engineering Ethics in Student Teams’ Discussion 2017 - Journal Article
Inductive Risk, Deferred Decisions, and Climate Science Advising 2017 - Book Chapter

Appointments

Director
UT Dallas [2011–2018]
Arts & Humanities
Affiliated Faculty
UT Dallas [2009–2010]
Arts & Humanities
Assistant Professor
UT Dallas [2009–2018]
Instructor
UC San Diego [2008–2008]
Research Assistant
UCSD [2007–2007]
Teaching Assistant
UC San Diego [2004–2009]
Research Assistant
UCSD [2004–2006]
Research Project
Georgia Institute of Technology [2003–2003]
Research Assistant
Georgia Institute of Technology [2001–2001]

Projects

Dewcy's Art as Experience
2006–2006 UCSD Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition
Inquiry, Evidence, and Experiment: The 'Experimenters' Regress' Dissolved
2008–2008 CU Boulder Regional Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science
Love Slaves and Wonder Women: Values and Popular Culture in the Psychology of W.M. Marston
2010–2010 Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
John Dewey's Theory of Inquiry
2008–2008 UCSD History of Philosophy Roundtable
Comment: Kochan on Popper's 'Communitarianism'
2008–2008 Canadian Philosophical Association Congress 2008

Additional Information

Personal Statement

Matthew J. Brown's research focused on contemporary debates in philosophy of science and on the study of the history of American philosophy, especially the work of John Dewey. In philosophy of science, Professor Brown focuses on the interplay of science and values, including the relationships between science and public policy. In the history of philosophy, Professor Brown is most interested in John Dewey's work in logic, epistemology, philosophy of science, and political philosophy.

Professor Brown also works in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and the history of psychology. His interests are in theories of mind and cognition as embodied, socially and technologically situated and distributed, and culturally and historically constituted, as well as methodologies for the study of cognition in the context of everyday practice. Professor Brown has explored the application of these theories and methods to the study of science.

Professor Brown teaches a variety of courses in philosophy, history of ideas, emerging media and communication, and cognitive science. He also interested in Comics Studies and Popular Culture Studies and organizes the annual Comics and Popular Arts Conference.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE
  • Referee: Philosophy of Science, British Journal for Philosophy of Science, Social Epistemology, Philosophical Psychology, Spontaneous Generations,Canadian Philosophical Association Congress 2008
  • Member-at-Large, North Texas Philosophical Association
  • Conference Coordinator, Comics and Popular Arts Conference at Dragon*Con, 2008-2010
  • Faculty Sponsor, Graduate Student Association, School of Arts and Humanities, UT Dallas 2010-present
  • Committee on Learning Management Systems, UT Dallas, 2010-Present
  • Graduate Student Referee, Science, Technology, and Human Values 2007-08
  • UCSD Graduate Life Steering Committee, Summer 2008
  • Graduate Student Representative, UCSD Search Committee for Dean of Arts and Humanities, 2008
  • Graduate Student Referee, Science, Technology, and Human Values 2007-08
  • Organizing Committee, UCSD Philosophy Graduate Symposium 2008-2009
  • Department Representative, UCSD Graduate Student Association, 2008-2009
  • Representative—Alternate, UCSD Graduate Student Association, 2007-2008
Professional Recognitions and Honors
  • Travel Award, Foundations of the Formal Sciences VII, October 2008
  • Visiting Scholar, Center for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences, London School of Economics, Spring 2007
  • Travel Award, UK-European Foundations of Physics Conference at Leeds, March 2007
  • UCSD Philosophy Department Grad Student Travel Grant, Fall 2008, Spring 2008, Spring 2007
  • Departmental Dissertation Fellowship, UCSD, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Winter 2008
  • UCSD Summer Research Assistantship in Philosophy, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
  • UCSD Philosophy Department Grad Student Fellowship, 2003-2004
  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF), School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Summer 2001

News Articles

Study Suggests Exploring Values Can Enhance Science Education
New research from UT Dallas indicates that values should play a bigger role in the study of science in schools.

The research, which appears in the journal Science & Education, found that students typically do not explore predetermined values or evaluate whether they are appropriate to the particular issue they are examining.

Dr. Matthew Brown, an associate professor in the School of Arts and Humanities, and director of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology, said the research shows the importance of teaching science in a way that helps students engage their knowledge of science with social questions. 
Center for Values Project Puts Student Lab Experience Under Microscope
The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to study how learning and mentoring occurs in a research lab.

According to the center’s director, Dr. Matthew Brown, the work will touch on both social science and humanities research.

“The common assumption is that research experience in the laboratory is a crucial educational activity, but there’s actually been very little research about that,” he said.