Colin Klein, Philosopher

I am an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor in the  School of Philosophy at the Australian National University. I am the acting director of the ANU Centre for Philosophy of the Sciences.

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 more 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.

Other Interests

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

Professional Service

I organize workshops. I help edit journals. That sort of thing.

Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience

Published Papers

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

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

"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

"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

"Philosophical Issues in Neuroimaging" Philosophy Compass (2010) Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 186-198.
Published Version

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

In Progress/Forthcoming

"Interpreting the dimensions of neural feature representations revealed by dimensionality reduction'' Erin Goddard, Colin Klein, Samuel G Solomon, Hinze Hogendoorn, and Thomas A Carlson. Forthcoming in Neuroimage.

Online First

"Ghosts in machine learning for cognitive neuroscience: Moving from data to theory" Thomas Carlson, Erin Goddard, David M. Kaplan, Colin Klein, Brendan Ritchie. Forthcoming in Neuroimage
Online First

"Decoding the Brain: Neural Representation and the Limits of Multivariate Pattern Analysis in Cognitive Neuroscience." (with J. Brendan Ritchie and David M. Kaplan) forthcoming in BJPS

Biorxiv version

"What do Predictive Coders Want?"  forthcoming in Synthese
Final Draft | Online First

"Mechanism and Resource"
Current Draft

Pain Perception


"Pain, Care, and The Body: A Response to de Vignemont" forthcoming in Australasian Journal of Philosophy
Older Draft | Online First

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


In Progress

"Imperativism and Degrees of Pain" (with Manolo Martínez) accepted for The Nature of Pain: Hedonic Tone, Motivation, and Non-Human Animals. ed. Michael Brady, Oxford: Oxford University Press (projected)
Current Draft


Invertebrate Consciousness

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

Accompanying Conversation Article
Other press coverage here.

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 

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

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


Consciousness, Cognition, and 'Consciousness and Cognition'"

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

Other Interests

Social Epistemology 

Jessica Isserow and Colin Klein "Hypocrisy and Moral Authority" Forthcoming in Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy

"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

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

Other papers

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

Reviews and Commentary

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

Animal Sentience

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

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

Professional Service

Workshops Organized

Click on the titles for the workshop program and registration info:

"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)