Dr Derek Brown
- Senior Lecturer (Philosophy)
I am philosopher of perception within the CSPE (Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience) at the University of Glasgow. I work primarily on the nature of perceptual experience or consciousness, on the nature of colour and colour perception, and on senses in which we directly versus indirectly perceive things. In recent months I've started examining the nature of perception within virtual and augmented realities, with recent research and public lectures on initial findings.
I co-organize two interdiscplinary seminar series: the PPN (Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience) seminar series and the Illusion of the Fortnight seminar series. Both feature cutting-edge research presentations throughout the academic year.
I also regularly organize in-person and online public engagement events with the CSPE, including at Being Human, European Researchers Night, Explorathon, Glagow Science Centre Lates, and Glasgow Science Festival. This can be in the form of public lecture and discussion, or featuring our ever-growing mobile "Mystery of Illusion" display.
On this page you'll find an overview of my various academic roles and activities. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.
For some immediate fun visit the CSPE's Illusions Index!
Latest publication: Colour variation without objective colour
- 15 June 2023, 'Naive realism and illusion', Cognitive Science Seminar Series, Mind and Reason Seminar Series, University of York
- 26 April 2023, 'Toward a theory of perceptual mediation', Conference in honour of José Bermúdez, Valencia, Spain
- 17 March 2023, 'Naive realism and illusion', Cognitive Science Seminar Series, CUNY
Current positions at University of Glasgow:
- Deputy Director of The Centre for the Student of Perceptual Experience
- Director of Postgraduate Studies (Taught) Philosophy
- Convenor of MSc in Philosophy of Mind and Psychology
Current positions outwith University of Glasgow:
- Scots Philosophical Association, Secretary/Director
- British Philsophical Association, Member of Executive Committee
- Philosophical Quarterly, Member of Executive Committee
Past visiting appointments:
- Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge (2016)
- Visiting Professor, University of Pittsburgh (2012)
- Visiting Researcher, University of Glasgow (2012)
I work primarily in philosophy of perception and philosophy of mind more broadly. I work in an interdisciplinary manner spanning philosophy, psychology and neuroscience and have sucessfully collaborated with artists and musicians on various aspects of perceptions.
Topics I work on include:
- Perception in virtual and augmented realities
- The metaphysics and epistemology of colour: esp. colour constancy and colour ontology
- The distinction betweeen perceptual directness and indirectness
- The nature of perceptual experience: phenomenology, qualia, sensation
- Perceptual intentionality: esp. acquaintance, representation and the relations between them
- Imagination: esp. sensory imaginings, relationship between imagination and perception
- Sense-datum theory
- Sept. 2021 Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Research Network Grant for Augmented Reality: Ethics, Perception and Metaphysics. Co-organizer with B. Colburn, F. Macpherson, and N. McDonnell. (£19,747.43)
- June 2019 Scots Philosophical Association grant for Unity of Perception workshop (£1500)
- June 2018 Scots Philosophical Association grant for Depiction, Pictorial Experience and Vision Science workshop (£1500).
- Mar. 2018 British Society of Aesthetics Conference grant for Depiction, Pictorial Experience and Vision Science (£5000)
- Nov. 2017 Mind Association Conference grant for Depiction, Pictorial Experience, and Vision Science workshop (£1500)
- June 2017 Scots Philosophical Association grant for Particularity of Perception workshop (£1500)
- June 2016 Special Research Grant from Associate Vice-President Research at BU for You Can’t See Through White ($3,000)
- Sept. 2015 Templeton Foundation grant, via New Directions in the Study of Mind Project at Cambridge University, for Colour primitivism and non-reductive minds (£14,000)
- Jan. 2015 Brandon University Research Committee (BURC) grant for collaborative artistic project You Can’t See Through White with Ben Davis (visual artist) and Eric Platz (percussionist) ($4,000)
- Nov. 2014 Special Research Grant from Vice-President Academic at BU for You Can’t See Through White pilot ($3,500)
- Mar. 2012 Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) International Exchange Programme Grant to be Visiting Scholar at University of Glasgow Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience, Philosophy Department, Sept.-Dec. 2012 (£3,000)
- Apr. 2010 Awarded 2-year BURC research grant ($4,000)
- Apr. 2009 Awarded special research grant from VP Academic at Brandon University. ($3,000)
- Oct. 2007 BURC travel grant ($500)
- Oct. 2005 University of Minnesota research grant ($1,000)
- Oct. 2005 University of Minnesota teaching enhancement grant ($750).
- Apr. 2003 Ontario Graduate Scholarship ($16,000).
- 2000 - 2003 Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Ph.D. grant – 3 years funding ($48,000).
I am happy to supervise Masters and PhD students and take on postdocs in philosophy of mind, perception, psychology, colour and related areas. I also welcome applications from students studying elsewhere who would like to spend time as a visiting research student working with me and/or at the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience. Please see the philosophy postgraduate webpages for details of postgraduate degrees that we offer and funding or for how to apply to be a visiting student.
Potential supervisory topics
- Perception in virtual and augmented realities:metaphysics, epistemology, experience or consciousness
- Colour (and other sensory qualities): metaphysics and epistemology of colour, colour phenomena, error in colour experience
- Theories of perception: representationalism, naive realism, sense-datum theory, Bayesianism, predictive coding
- Imagination: sensory imagination, the relation between imagination and perception
- Perceptual experience: phenomenology, qualia, sensations
- Perceptual directedness: perceptual acquaintance, representation in perception, indirect perception
- Relation between cognition and perception
I am happy to discuss possible projects or to suggest specific ones that are ripe for a contemporary philosophical treatment. Please don't hesitate to write with queries.
Current Graduate students
- Harber, Jacob
What is the difference between the conscious nature of mental imagery, perception, and other sensory states (such as dreaming and hallucinating)?
- Johnson, Kevin
Phenomenology and Accessibility in James Joyce's Ulysses: A Stylistic Approach to Mapping Narrative Language onto a Theory of Consciousness
- 2019-2022 Steven Broadrick, PhD, "Predictive Processing and Colour" (first supervisor)
- 2017-2021 Raul Morales, PhD, "Naive Realism and the Nature of Hallucination" (secondary supervisor)
- 2018-2019 Sean Carrothers, MPhil, "Is Pain Necessarily Unpleasant?" (joint first supervisor)
- MSc Philosophy of Mind A or B - 6 x 2hr lectures
- SH10 Philosophy of Perception (4th year undergraduate) - 16 lectures
- JH7 Philosophy of Mind (3rd year undergraduate) - 8 lectures (half of course)
- Philosophy of Science Module in 2B (2nd year undergraduate) - 6 lectures