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Professor Gerard O'Brien

Telephone +61 8 8313 5298
Position Professor of Philosophy
Fax +61 8 8313 4341
Building Napier Building
Floor/Room 7 08
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Philosophy

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Research Interests

  • Theoretical foundations of cognitive science
  • Neurocomputational models of cognition
  • Consciousness
  • Mental representation
  • Naturalised theories of ethics and values



O'Brien, G. & Opie, J., eds. (2002) Language and Thought: Philosophical Perspectives. A special issue of Language and Communication 22: 209-390

O'Brien, G. & Diprose, R., eds. (1996) Exploring the Interface Between Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of the Body: An Annotated Bibliography, University of New South Wales


O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2015) Intentionality lite or analog content? Philosophia 43 (3): 723-30. 10.1007/s11406-015-9623-5 

O'Brien, G. (2011) Defending the semantic conception of computation in cognitive science. Journal of Cognitive Science 12: 381-99.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2009) The role of representation in computation. Cognitive Processing 10 (1): 53-62.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2006) How do connectionist networks compute? Cognitive Processing 7(1): 30-41.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2004) Vehicle, process, and hybrid theories of consciousness. Authors' response to continuing commentary. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27: 303-5

O'Brien, G. & Jureidini, J. (2002) Dispensing with the dynamic unconscious. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology 9(2):141-53

O'Brien, G. & Jureidini, J. (2002) The last rites of the dynamic unconscious. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology 9(2):161-6

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2002) Radical connectionism: Thinking with (not in) language. Language and Communication 22: 313-29

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2001) Connectionist vehicles, structural resemblance, and the phenomenal mindCommunication and Cognition 34: 13-38

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2000) Disunity defended: A reply to Bayne. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78: 255-63

O'Brien, G. (1999) Connectionism, analogicity and mental content. Acta Analytica 22: 111-31

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (1999) A connectionist theory of phenomenal experience. Target Article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22: 127-48

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (1999) Putting content into a vehicle theory of consciousness. Authors' Response in Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22: 175-96

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (1999) A defense of cartesian materialism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59: 939-63

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (1998) The disunity of consciousness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76: 378-395

O'Brien, G. (1998) The Mind: Embodied, embedded, but not extended. Metascience 7: 78-83.

Clapin, H. & O'Brien, G. (1998) A conversation about superposition and distributed representation. Noetica: Open Forum 3(10)

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (1997) Cognitive science and phenomenal consciousness: A dilemma, and how to avoid it. Philosophical Psychology 10: 269-86

O'Brien, G. (1991) Is connectionism common sense? Philosophical Psychology 4: 165-78

O'Brien, G. (1987) Eliminative materialism and our psychological self-knowledge. Philosophical Studies 52: 49-70


O'Brien, G. (2015) How does mind matter? -- Solving the content causation problem. In T.Metzinger & J.M. Windt (eds.) Open MIND. Frankfurt am Main: MIND group.

O'Brien, G. (2015) Rehabilitating resemblance redux -- A reply to Anne-Kathrin Koch. In T.Metzinger & J.M. Windt (eds.) Open MIND. Frankfurt am Main: MIND group.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2015) A schizophrenic defence of the vehicle theory of consciousness. In R. Gennaro (ed.) Disturbed Consciousness: New Essays in Psychpathology and Theories of Consciousness. MIT Press.

Opie, J. & O'Brien, G. (2015) The structure of phenomenal consciousness. In S.Miller (ed.) The Constitution of Consciousness. John Benjamins.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2010) Representation in analog computation. In A. Newen, A.Bartels, & E.Jung (eds.) Knowledge and Representation. CSLI Publications.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2009) Vehicles of consciousness. In T.Bayne,  A.Cleeremans & P.Wilken (eds.) The Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2004) Notes towards a structuralist theory of mental representation. In H.Clapin, P.Staines & P.Slezak (eds.) Representation in Mind: New Approaches to Mental Representation. Elsevier.

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2003) The multiplicity of consciousness and the emergence of the self. In A.S.David & T.Kircher (eds.) The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press.

O'Brien, G. (1993) The connectionist vindication of folk psychology. In Scott Christensen and Dale Turner (eds.) Folk Psychology and the Philosophy of Mind.  Lawrence Erlbaum.

O'Brien, G. (1993) A conflation of folk psychologies. In K.Neander & I.Ravenscroft (eds.) Prospects for Intentionality Working Papers in Philosophy. Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University.


O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2002) Internalizing communication. Commentary on Carruthers' "The cognitive functions of language". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25(6): 694-5

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2002) The computational baby, the classical bathwater, and the middle way. Commentary on Perruchet and Vinter's "The self-organizing consciousness". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25(3): 348-9

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2001) Sins of omission and commission. Commentary on O'Regan and Noe's "A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 997-8

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (2001) Functional resemblance and the internalization of rules. Commentary on Kubovy & Epstein's "Internalization: A metaphor we can live without". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 695-6

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (1999) Finding a place for experience in the physical-relational structure of the brain. Commentary on Palmer's "Color, Consciousness, and the Isomorphism Constraint". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22(6): 966-7

O'Brien, G. & Opie, J. (1999) What's really doing the work here: Knowledge representation or the HOT theory? Commentary on Dienes and Perner's "A theory of implicit and explicit knowledge". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22(5): 778-9

O'Brien, G. (1998) Digital computers versus dynamical systems: A conflation of distinctions. Commentary on van Gelder's "The dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21: 648-9

O'Brien, G. (1998) The role of implementation in connectionist explanation. Commentary on Green's "Are connectionist models theories of cognition?". Psycoloquy 9(06) (1998)

Mortensen, C. & O'Brien, G. (1993) Representation and causal asymmetry. Commentary on Wallis' "Asymmetric dependence and mental representation". Psycoloquy 4(19)

Mortensen, C., O'Brien, G. & Paterson, B. (1993) Distinctions: Subpersonal and subconscious. Commentary on Puccetti's "Dennett on the split brain".  Psycoloquy 4(62)


O'Brien, G. (1997) Review of David Chalmers' "The Conscious Mind". Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75: 413-15

O'Brien, G. (1994) From mind as text to mind as process. Review of Andy Clark's "Associative Engines: Connectionism, Concepts, and Representational Change". Metascience 6:123-26


Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesPsychology & Psychiatry
ExpertiseCognitive science; intelligence; philosophy; computers and the mind; cognition; consciousness; human nature (nurture/nature controversies); basis for moral behaviour; nature vs nurture; meaning (how meaning arises in the natural world); ethics and human nature
NotesAlt phone: (08) 8303 5247

Entry last updated: Sunday, 24 Jan 2016

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