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

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS

  • Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology at UT-Dallas
  • Philosophy of Science Association
  • American Philosophical Association
  • Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy
  • North Texas Philosophical Association
  • Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at UCSD
AREAS OF COMPETENCY
Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind/Cognitive Science, American Philosophy (Pragmatism)
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION
Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind/Cognitive Science, American Philosophy (Pragmatism)

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.