Director, Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology
PhD, University of California-San Diego
Situated and Distributed Cognition, Culture and Cognition, Philosophy of Mind, History of Psychology
Matthew J. Brown received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego. While pursuing his PhD, he was also a member of the Distributed Cognition and Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory in the Department of Cognitive Science and the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition in the Department of Communication. Professor Brown teaches a variety of courses in philosophy, history of ideas, emerging media and communication, and cognitive science. He is also interested in humanistic and social-scientific studies of comics and popular culture and organizes the annual Comics and Popular Arts Conference in Atlanta.
Philosophy of Science
Matthew J. Brown's main research area is philosophy of science, especially in the interaction of science, values, ethics, and politics. In this research, he especially concerned to uncover the ways in which science is a value-laden enterprise, the impact of the value-ladenness of science on our conception of the role of science in policy, and the parallels between scientific and technological, ethical and political inquiries.
Culture and Cognition
Another major area of interest for Professor Brown is in the relationship between culture and cognition. On his view, one cannot fully understand mind and cognition without understanding the role that society, technology, environment, and culture play in mediating or constituting mental and cognitive processes. Professor Brown's research in this area relies on methods and theories such as Cognitive Ethnography, Distributed Cognition, Situated Cognition, Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, and Enactivism.
Currently, Professor Brown and his collaborators are working on an NSF-funded project to study engineering ethics using these perspectives. The grant is entitled Engineering Ethics as an Expert Guided and Socially Situated Activity.
History and Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Professor Brown is interested in the early history of American psychology, especially in the contributions of such figures as William James, John Dewey, Hugo Münsterberg, and William Moulton Marston, and the role philosophical and ethical-political considerations played in their psychological experiments and theories.
He is also interested in a variety of aspects of philosophy of mind and cognitive science, philosophical critiques of cognitivism, and philosophical views related to culture and cognition.
Values in Science Research Lab
Professor Brown heads up the Values in Science Research Lab, the research arm of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology. The lab involves faculty and students from across several of the Schools at UT Dallas. Interested faculty and students should email Professor Brown about getting involved.
“The Functional Complexity of Scientific Evidence.” Metaphilosophy (forthcoming January 2015).
“Quantum Frames,” (2014). Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 45(1): 1-10.
“Values in Science beyond Undetermination and Inductive Risk,” (2013). Philosophy of Science 80(5): 829-839.
“Science as Socially Distributed Cognition: Bridging Philosophy and Sociology of Science” (2011). Foundations of the Formal Sciences VII: Bringing together Philosophy and Sociology of Science, v. 32 of Studies in Logic, pp. 17-30.