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Dr. Brian Glenney

"I think a lot about Molyneux's Question. . ."

A graduate of the University of Southern California, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Washington, Dr. Brian Glenney has been teaching philosophy at Gordon College since 2007. His research interests are in the study of perception, philosophical psychology, and the life and early work of Adam Smith.

Of his scholarly interests, he says: "I have written on ancient and modern accounts of perception and how they anticipate some current findings in the cognitive sciences. My main concern is how we perceive shape by sight and touch (and sometimes audition). I think a lot about Molyneux's Question: whether a blind subject who can recognize various shapes by touch would immediately recognize those shapes by sight alone if their sight were restored. . . . I think about this question in my lab work on sensory substitution devices. My students and I have built a color sonification device (soon to be an app!) and subjects seem adept at distinguishing between ripe and raw fruit based on hearing color differences."

His interest in perception and his personal passions for art and mobility recently coalesced into the Accessible Icon Project, a collaboration with Harvard artist Sara Hendren to transform the International Symbol of Access (the wheelchair symbol) into an “active, engaged image. Read more >>

In addition to his peer-reviewed scholarly work on philosophical psychology and perception, Dr. Glenney has been a skateboarder and (reformed, legal) street artist for over 20 years.In May 2013 he received the Junior Distinguished Faculty Award, given each year at Commencement to honor outstanding teaching and research.

Recent Work, and Work in Progress

“Machinations Over Machines: Leibniz and Spinoza on Transhumanism and the Singularity,” for the History and Philosophy of Science Division meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences on February 22, 2013. Co-authored with Pete Heath.

“Sensing by Sympathy: Connecting Adam Smith’s ‘External Senses’ to his 'Sentiments’,” in Adam Smith Review (pending).

"Perception and Prosopagnosia in Mark 8:22–26," for publication in Journal for the Study of the New Testament, coathored with John Noble (Huntington College).

A book project: "I try to understand the nature of the integration of the senses by thinking about how new and novel senses find their way into this common sense. I argue that a plurality of strategies and mechanisms are involved in this process."

A mural project in a graffiti yard near the Beverly Depot, in Beverly, Massachusetts:  “CORE: La Liberte est Mort.”