Colin Klein

I am a Professor in the School of Philosophy at the Australian National University. I am a lead investigator on The Major Transitions in The Evolution of Cognition project funded by TWCF. I am also a lead CI in the Digital Trust Research Group , a member of the ANU Centre for Philosophy of the Sciences, and a section editor for the The Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.     

Before ANU, I taught at Macquarie University, and before that I spent a year as a visiting research fellow in the Centre for Consciousness at the ANU. My first job was at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  I did my undergraduate degree at Franklin and Marshall College and my PhD at Princeton University. For moderately up-to-date information on my work and current projects, please scroll down.

Research Interests

A sampling of my research interests. A full CV is to the left. Click for more information and papers

Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience

Can functional neuroimaging help adjudicate between cognitive theories? How should information about the brain affect how we think about the mind? Can direct brain intervention give us answers?

Pain Perception

Pains are imperatives:  the pain of a broken ankle has a content akin to "Don't put weight on this ankle!" Imperativism solves traditional puzzles about pain while shedding light on real-world issues like chronic pain and addiction.


Insects are conscious. Certain kinds of severe brain damage spare consciousness. I and co-authors explore these issues as a means towards dissolving the hard problem of consciousness.

Reduction, Realization, and Computation

Traditional issues in intertheoretic reduction and realization. All of my work is concerned with the ontological commitments that our best theories do (and do not) bring.

Social Epistemology

I am interested in the transmission of information between people and how it can go wrong. I've looked at everything from online forums to Ancient Chinese philosophy

Other Interests

My philosophical interests are wide-ranging. Some bits are harder to categorize than others. I also write op-ed pieces, reviews, and commentaries.

Workshops and Conferences

This contains information about workshops past and forthcoming.

Professional Service

I am involved with professional societies. I help edit journals. That sort of thing.

Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience


"Transitions in Cognitive Evolution" (2023) Andrew B Barron, Marta Halina, and Colin Klein. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 290. Published Version

"Explaining Neural Transitions through Resource Constraints" (2022) Philosophy of Science  89(5): 1196 - 1202

Published Version | Final Draft


"What is the job of the job description challenge? A case study from body representation" Colin Klein and Peter Clutton. (2021) in Neural Mechanisms: New Challenges in Philosophy of Neuroscience ed Fabrizio Calzavarini & Marco Viola. Dordrecht: Springer. pp 449–465.`

"Do we represent peripersonal space?"(2021) in The World at our Fingertips: A Multi- disciplinary Exploration of Peripersonal Space ed F. de Vignemont, H.Y. Wong, A. Serino, and A. Farn ́e. Oxford: Oxford University Press.   Final Draft

"A Humean challenge to predictive coding" (2020) in The Philosophy and Science of Pre- dictive Processing ed Dina Mendonca, Manuel Curado, and Steven Gouveia. Bloomsbury Press.   Final Draft

"Mechanisms, resources, and background conditions" (2018) Biology and Philosophy 33:36 Published Version | Proofs

"What do Predictive Coders Want?"  (2018) Synthese 95(6): 2451-2557.
Final Draft | Published Version

Peter Clutton, Stephen Gadsby & Colin Klein "Taxonomising delusions: content or aetiology?" (2017) Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 22(6): 508-527.
Published paper | Archive Link

"Kicking the Kohler Habit," Philosophical Psychology (2007) Vol. 20, No. 5, pp. 609-619.
Penultimate Draft

Occasional papers

Not everything makes it to press. Here are a few things that seemed worth archiving for posterity :

"Predictive Processing: Avoiding the elephant in the room" - Response to Sun and Firestone (2020). PsyArXiv link

"Confidence Intervals on Implicit Association Test Scores Are Really Rather Large" - an attempt to estimate 95% CIs on IAT scores. They are larger than people think. PsyArXiv Link


"Decoding the Brain: Neural Representation and the Limits of Multivariate Pattern Analysis in Cognitive Neuroscience." (with J. Brendan Ritchie and David M. Kaplan) BJPS (2019) Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 581-607.

Published Version

"Interpreting the dimensions of neural feature representations revealed by dimensionality reduction'' Erin Goddard, Colin Klein, Samuel G Solomon, Hinze Hogendoorn, and Thomas A Carlson. (2018) Thomas A Carlson, Erin Goddard, David M Kaplan, Colin Klein, J. Brendan Ritchie. Neuroimage 180(A): 88–100

Published paper

"Ghosts in machine learning for cognitive neuroscience: Moving from data to theory" Thomas Carlson, Erin Goddard, David M. Kaplan, Colin Klein, Brendan Ritchie. (2018) Thomas A Carlson, Erin Goddard, David M Kaplan, Colin Klein, J. Brendan Ritchie. Neuroimage 180(A): 88–100
Published Paper

"Brain Regions as Difference-Makers" (2017) Philosophical  Psychology 30(1-2): 1-20.  Published Paper  | Final Draft

"What is a cognitive ontology, anyway?" (2017) Annelli Janssen, Colin Klein, and Marc Slors. Philosophical Explorations 20:2 (123-128)

Archive version

"The Brain at Rest: What it's Doing and Why That Matters" Philosophy of Science (2014) 81(5): 974-985
Published Paper | Final Draft

"Cognitive Ontology and Region- versus Network-oriented Analyses" Philosophy of Science (2012) 79(5): 952-960.
Final Draft

"The Dual Track theory of Moral Decision-Making: A Critique of the Neuroimaging Evidence"  Neuroethics (2011) Vol. 4, pp 143-162.
Published Version | Final Draft

“Philosophical Issues in Neuroimaging” (2010) Philosophy Compass 5(2), pp. 186-198.
Published Version

"Images are not the Evidence of Neuroimaging" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (2010) Vol. 61, pp. 265-278.
Published Version | Penultimate Draft

Chris Mole and Colin Klein "Confirmation, Refutation and The Evidence of fMRI"  In Foundational Issues in Human Brain Mapping (2010), pp99-112.
MIT press

Pain Perception


"Transduction, calibration, and the penetrability of pain" Forthcoming in Ergo
Final Draft

Michelle Liu and Colin Klein  "Pain and Spatial Inclusion: Evidence from Mandarin"  Analysis (2020).  80(2): 262–272
Final Draft | Online First Paper

"Pain, Care, and The Body: A Response to de Vignemont"  Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95(3): 588-593
Older Draft | Published Paper

Manolo Martínez and Colin Klein" Pain signals are predominantly imperative" Biology and Philosophy 31:283–298. Published Version | Final Draft

"What Pain Asymbolia Really Shows" Mind (2015) 124(494): 493-516.
Published Paper | Final Draft

"The Penumbral Theory of Masochistic Pleasure"  The Review of Philosophy and Psychology (2014) 5(1): 41-55
Published Paper | Final Draft

"Imperatives, Phantom Pains, and Hallucination by Presupposition" Philosophical Psychology (2012) 25(6): 917-928.
Published Paper | Final Draft

"Response to Tumulty on Pain and Imperatives" (2010) The Journal of Philosophy Vol. CVII, No. 10, pp 554-557.

Final Draft

"An Imperative Theory of Pain," The Journal of Philosophy (2007) Vol. CIV, No. 10, pp 517-532.
Penultimate Draft



"Imperativism and Pain Intensity" (with Manolo Martínez) in The Philosophy of Pain: Unpleasantness, Emotion, and Deviance. ed. David Bain, Michael Brady, and Jennifer Corns, Routledge
  Final Draft


The Evolution of Consciousness

"Evolutionary Transition Markers and the Origins of Consciousness” (2022) Marta Halina, David Harrison, and Colin Klein. Journal of Consciousness Studies 29(3-4): 62-77. Published Version

Andrew Barron and Colin Klein. "What insects can tell us about the origins of consciousness" (2016) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(18): 4900–4908.
Personal Version | Online Version

Colin Klein and Andrew Barron "Reply to Adamo, Key et al., and Schilling and Cruse: Crawling around the hard problem of consciousness" (2016)
Online Version

Klein, Colin and Barron, Andrew B. (2016) Insects have the capacity for subjective experience. Animal Sentience 2016.100.

(click above for final online version and peer commentary)

Klein, Colin and Barron, Andrew B. (2016) Insect consciousness: Commitments, conflicts and consequences Animal Sentience 2016.153 

AI and consciousness

"Consciousness in Artificial Intelligence: Insights from the Science of Consciousness" (2023) Butlin, Long, et al.
arXiv whitepaper

The Hard Problem

“Explanation in the Science of Consciousness: From the Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCCs) to the Difference Makers of Consciousness (DMCs)” Colin Klein, Jakob Hohwy, and Tim Bayne. (2020) Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1(II), 4. Published Version


Colin Klein and Andrew Barron "First-person interventions and the meta-problem of consciousness" (2020) Journal of Consciousness Studies 27:5-6 82-90.  Final Draft | Published Version

Colin Klein and Andrew Barron "How Experimental Neuroscientists Can Fix the Hard Problem of Consciousness"  (2020) Colin Klein and Andrew Barron Neuroscience of Consciousness 6(1): niaa009 Final Draft

Human Consciousness

"Consciousness, Intention, and Command Following in the Vegetative State" (2017) The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68(1): 27-54
Final Draft | Online Version

“Variability, convergence and dimensions of consciousness” (2015) Colin Klein and Jakob Hohwy. In Behavioral Methods In Consciousness ed. Morten Overgaard, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 249–264.

OUP Book Page

Reduction, Realization, and Computation


"Computing in the Nick of Time" (2022) J Brendan Ritchie and Colin Klein. Ratio Online First

"The Ethical Gravity Thesis: Marrian Levels and the Persistence of Bias in Automated Decision-making Systems" (2021) Atoosa Kasirzadeh & Colin Klein Proceedings of the 2021 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES '21) Final draft 


"Polychrony and the process view of computation" (2020) Philosophy of Science 87(5): 1140–1149.

Computation, consciousness, and 'Computation and consciousness'" (2019) In Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind, ed. Mark Sprevak and Matteo Colombo, 297–309.

Final Draft

"Olympia and Other O-Machines" Philosophia (2015) 43(4): 925-931
Final Draft | Published Version

"Two Paradigms for Individuating Implementation"
The Journal of Cognitive Science (2012) 13(2): 167-179.
Final Draft

"Dispositional Implementation Solves the Superfluous Structure Problem" Synthese (2008) Vol. 165, No. 2, pp. 141-153
Penultimate Draft | Published Version

Reduction and Realization

"Psychological Explanation, Ontological Commitment, and the Semantic view of Theories " New Waves in Philosophy of Mind (2014) ed. Mark Sprevak and Jesper Kallestrup. New York, Palgrave Macmillan: 208-225.
Publisher Website | Final Draft

"Multiple Realizability and the Semantic View of Theories" Philosophical Studies. (2013) 163(3): 683-695.
Published paper | Penultimate Draft

"Reduction without Reductionism: A Defence of Nagel on Connectability" Philosophical Quarterly (2009) Vol. 59, No. 234, pp. 39-53.
Published version

"An Ideal Solution to Disputes about Multiply Realized Kinds," Philosophical Studies (2008) Vol. 140, No. 2, pp. 161-177.
Penultimate Draft

Mind Design III

Social Epistemology

Online Work

"Polarization and trust in the evolution of vaccine discourse on Twitter during COVID- 19” Ignacio Ojea Quintana, Ritsaart Reimann. Marc Cheong, Mark Alfano, Colin Klein. (2022)   PLOS ONE Published Version


"The affiliative use of emoji and hashtags in the Black Lives Matter movement."  Mark Alfano, Ritsaart Reimann, Ignacio Quintana, Marc Cheong & Colin Klein. Forthcoming in Social Science Computer Review Current Draft

“Attention and counter-framing in the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter” Colin Klein, Ritsaart Reimann, Ignacio Ojea Quintana, Marc Cheong, Marinus Ferreira, and Mark Alfano. (2022) Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 9:367 Published paper

“Technologically scaffolded atypical cognition: The case of YouTube’s recommender system” Mark Alfano, Amir Ebrahimi Fard, J Adam Carter, Peter Clutton, Colin Klein. Synthese 199, pp835–858 Published Version


"Pathways to conspiracy: The social and linguistic precursors of involvement in Reddit's conspiracy theory forum." (2019) Colin Klein, Peter Clutton, and Adam Dunn. PLOS ONE 14(11): e0225098. Published Version

Mark Alfano and Colin Klein (2019) ”Trust in a Social and Digital World.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 8 (10): 1-8.

"Topic modeling reveals distinct posting patterns within an online conspiracy forum." Colin Klein, Peter Clutton, Vince Polito (2018) Frontiers in Psychology 9: 189.

Published Version

My work on online social epistemology is the focus of the ARC Discovery Project DP190101507 "Trust in a Social and Digital World" with Mark Alfano


Social Virtue Epistemology (2022) ed Mark Alfano, Colin Klein, and Jeroen De Ridder. New York: Routledge. Purchase book

“A Tragic Coalition of the Rational and Irrational: A threat to collective responses to COVID-19” (2022) Marinus Ferreira, Marc Cheong, Colin Klein, and Mark Alfano. Philosophical Psychology Online First

" The Coordination Dilemma For Epidemiological Modelers" Ignacio Ojea Quintana, Sarita Rosenstock, and Colin Klein. (2021) Biology and Philosophy.36:54 Published Version Preprint  

"Putting the ‘social’ back in social psychology" forthcoming in Current Controversies in Philosophy of Cognitive Science (provisional title), ed ed. Simon Cullen, Sarah-Jane Leslie, and Adam Lerner. Routledge.

Jessica Isserow and Colin Klein (2017) "Hypocrisy and Moral Authority" Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12(2): 191-222.

Esther Klein and Colin Klein “Wang Chong’s epistemology of testimony”  (2016) Asia Major Third Series, 29(2): 115–147.
Link to website


Software and technical reports

wisdom-of-crowds: A Python package for social-epistemological network profiling. Paper forthcoming in Proceedings of the 13th Conference on Complex Networks | Github repo


"Automated clustering of COVID-19 anti-vaccine discourse on Twitter" Quintana et al. arXiv link

Other Interests

Hard to categorize papers

“Mapping Topics in 100,000 Real-life Moral Dilemmas” (2022) Tuan Dung Nguyen, Georgiana Lyall, Alasdair Tran, Minjeong Shin, Nicholas Carroll, Colin Klein, and Lexing Xie. F Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2022) 16(1), 699-710.
Published Version

Esther Klein and Colin Klein "Did the Chinese Have a Change of Heart?" (2012) Cognitive Science 36(2): 179-82.
Published Version

Anthony Chemero, Colin Klein, and Will Cordeiro.  "Events as Changes in the Layout of Affordances." (2003) Ecological Psychology.  15(1), 19-28.
Published Version

Public Engagement

"Don’t (just) blame echo chambers. Conspiracy theorists actively seek out their online communities"

The Conversation

"The ‘painless woman’ helps us see how anxiety and fear fit in the big picture of pain"

The Conversation; Translated to Indonesian

"Why we need more than just data to create ethical driverless cars"

The Conversation

"Online conspiracy theorists are more diverse (and ordinary) than most assume"
The Conversation

"Gay-identifying AI tells us more about stereotypes than the origins of sexuality"
The Conversation

"What it is like to be a bee: insects can teach us about the origins of consciousness"

The Conversation

Reviews and Commentary

Review of The Complex Reality of Pain by Jennifer Corns.
Forthcoming in Mind Online First

Review of The Emotional Mind: A Control Theory of Affective States by Tom Cochrane Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (October 2020)

Published Version

Review of Philosophy and Computing: Essays in Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Logic, and Ethics ed. Thomas Power. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (May 2018)

Published Version

"Precaution, proportionality and proper commitments.", commentary on Johnathan Birch's  " Animal sentience and the precautionary principle".

Animal Sentience

Review of Tense  Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs: Are Animals Conscious? by Michael Tye. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (April 2017).

Published Version

Review of Reliability in Cognitive Neuroscience: A Meta-Meta-Analysis by William Uttal. (2015) Philosophical Psychology 28(4): 606-609
Published Version

Review of Engineering the Next Revolution in Neuroscience: The New Science of Experiment Planning by Alcino J. Silva, Anthony Landreth, and John Bickle. (2014) Philosophy of Science 81(3): 486-489.
Published Version

Review of Brain Imaging: What it Can (and Cannot) Tell us About Consciousness by Robert G. Shulman. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (June 2013)
Published Version

Review of Explaining the Brain by Carl F. Craver Mind 121 (481): 165-169. (2012)
Published Version

"Critical Notice: Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind by Robert Rupert" (2010) The Journal of Mind and Behavior Vol 34 No 3&4.
Published Version | Penultimate Draft

"Redeployed Functions Versus Spreading Activation: A Potential Confound" (2010) Commentary on "Neural reuse: A fundamental organizational principle of the brain" by Michael L. Anderson. Behavioral and Brain Sciences Vol. 33, pp. 280-281
Final Draft

Workshops, Conferences, and Professional Service

Past Workshops

The Australasian Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ASPP).  December 2023, Australian National University

"Foundations of Computation" 20-21 July 2023, The Australian National University,

"Neural Representation and Neural Computation" 5-6 September, The Australian National University.

The First Annual Meeting of the Australasian Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ASPP).  5-7 December 2018, Macquarie Unviersity, Sydney.

"Animal Sentience: Pushing the Boundaries" 17 August 2018, The Australian National University (sponsored by the Centre for Philosophy of the Sciences)

"Conspiracy theories, delusions and other 'troublesome' beliefs" 10-11 August 2017, Macquarie University

"Reshaping the mind: New work on cognitive ontology" 9-10 June 2016, Macquarie University

"The Feeling of Suffering" 18-19 February 2016 Macquarie University

(Jointly sponsored  and run by the John Templeton Foundation via the Value of Suffering Project and the Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics (CAVE) at Macquarie University)

"Predictive Coding, Delusions, and Agency" 15 May 2015, Macquarie University (Sponsored by the Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics (CAVE) at Macquarie University)