Mohan Matthen



Click on the Bibliography tab (above) for links to published papers.


Here are some papers  and presentations on perception that I have been working on recently.

VISUAL DEMONSTRATIVES argues that visual states single out material objects with perceptual demonstratives.

Five Ways Perceptual Content Can Be Conceptual (or Non-Conceptual) is a Powerpoint presentation of a talk I have been trying out.

How To Be Sure: Sensory Exploration and Empirical Certainty. This paper will appear in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. It argues that after adequate sensory exploration--a form of knowledge-gathering described in the first part of the paper--a  subject can be certain of some truths. At least s/he can be certain, if s/he brackets certain kinds of doubt. That is, she cannot dismiss sceptical doubt, or what I call “reflexive doubt,” but she can dismiss all other doubts. In the second half of the paper, I offer a novel analysis of how these different kinds of doubt can be distinguished from one another, and show why empirical certainty is attainable.

The Individuation of the Senses A fairly late draft of an entry for the Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception (which I am editing).

Here, you’ll find some description of non-philosophical things, such as Canadian politics,  various city-sights, restaurants and the like: Notes from the Floating World/

The Senses Project

I am the Principal Investigator on a recently awarded SSHRC Partnership Development Grant to establish the Network for Sensory Research. The partner institutions are Toronto, London, Glasgow, Harvard, and MIT. You will find more information here.

Here is a link to an earlier Senses project, also funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Together with Dustin Stokes and Stephen Biggs, I am editing for OUP New York a volume of papers that emerged  from this project. 

I was born in Bangalore India and studied Physics and later Philosophy at Mayo College, Ajmer and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.  Then, I went to Stanford University in California, where I got a PhD.  I have worked in Canada since 1976: at Calgary, McGill, Alberta, and UBC.

Since 2006, I have been Professor of Philosophy and senior Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto. 

Statistical Interpretation of Natural Selection

The so-called “statistical interpretation” of natural selection -- the idea that selection is not a cause but rather a bias is the mathematical aggregation of births, deaths, and matings -- was independently introduced by Denis Walsh, and by myself with Andre Ariew in “Two Ways of Thinking About Fitness and Natural Selection.”  This paper was published in Journal of Philosophy in 2002

Recently, Andre and I replied to critics in a paper entitled “Selection and Causation.”  And I wrote a piece on the statistical interpretation of drift.  These articles appeared in Philosophy of Science in 2009.

The above papers can be found on the bibliography page of this website.  (See the Bibliography tab at the top of this page, and see under the heading Philosophy of Biology.)

Here is a brief reply to a recent polemic against the statistical interpretation by Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich.

For a personal account of the recent controversy about the statistical interpretation, see here.