Carl Gillett

Carl Gillett
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Professor
  • Residential Fellow (2013-2014)
  • "Human Nature, Cognitive Neuroscience and Expansive Materialism: Exploring a New Approach to the Foundations of Neuroscience"

Carl Gillett is Professor of Philosophy at Northern Illinois University and specializes in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. His recent research is on the metaphysics of science, including work on composition, reduction, and emergence in the sciences with a special focus on the neurosciences and psychology.

He is the author of Reduction and Emergence in the Sciences (forthcoming) and co-editor of Physicalism and its Discontents (2001). He has also published numerous articles in journals such as AnalysisNousJournal of PhilosophyPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research, and Faith and Philosophy, among others. He is a co-founder, and convener, of the Society for the Metaphysics of Science. Among other awards, Professor Gillett has served as a participant in the Templeton Oxford Seminars on Science and Christianity (2003-2005), a visiting fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Religion, Notre Dame (2004), and a recipient of a research fellowship from the Templeton Foundation (2007).


  • Brains, Neuroscience, and Animalism: On the Implications of Thinking Brains

    The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 2014

    Carl Gillett

    The neuroscience revolution has led many scientists to posit “expansive” or “thinking” brains that instantiate rich psychological properties. As a result, some scientists now even claim you are identical to such a brain. However, Eric Olson has offered new arguments that thinking brains cannot exist due to their intuitively “abominable” implications. After situating the commitment to thinking brains in the wider scientific discussions in which they are posited, I then critically assess Olson’s arguments against such entities. Although highlighting an important insight, I show that Olson’s objections to the existence of thinking brains fail and that a wider discussion engaging our new empirical findings is actually required in order to resolve the deeper issues.

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