James Robert Brown

Plato’s Heaven: A User’s Guide is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and James Robert Brown, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. This wide-ranging conversation addresses a central theme in current philosophy: Platonism vs. Naturalism and provides accounts of both approaches to mathematics. The Platonist-Naturalist debate over mathematics is explored in a comprehensive fashion and also sheds light on non-mathematical aspects of a dispute that is central to contemporary philosophy.

Thought experiments stand as a fascinating challenge to the necessity of data in the empirical sciences. Are these experiments, conducted uniquely in our imagination, simply rhetorical devices or communication tools or are they an essential part of scientific practice? This book also surveys the current state of this debate and explores new avenues of research into the epistemology of thought experiments.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Mathematical Metaphysics, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Introducing Platonism – An explanation for what mathematics really is
  2. Attacks and Defenses – Platonism under fire
  3. Seeing With the Mind’s Eye – Two revealing examples XX
  4. Platonism Bounces Back –  From quantum physics to the mind-body problem
  5. The Philosophical Life – On sociological divides and being a team player




Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including:





Plato’s Heaven: A User’s Guide is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow Collection, Conversations About Philosophy, Volume 1, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.