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  • Academic staff

  • Dr Mark Cain

    BA (Hons), MPhil, PhD

    Reader and Programme Lead for Philosophy and Religion

    School of History, Philosophy and Culture

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


    Phone number: +44 (0)1865 488557

    Email: mcain@brookes.ac.uk


    Mark is a Reader in Philosophy and Programme Lead for Philosophy and Religion. He joined the Philosophy team at Brookes in 2002. Prior to that he held a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship at the University of Nottingham (2000-2002) and taught at Birkbeck College and King's College London after completing a PhD at The University of St Andrews (1991-1996).

    • U73103 Reason and Argument 
    • U73104 Human Nature
    • U73172 Foundations of German Idealism
    • U73126 Philosophy of Language

    Mark's research interests are in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Mind and Language. In particular, he is interested in understanding the process by which humans develop from a state of seeming ignorance at birth to one in which they are able to speak a language and grasp a vast array of concepts only a few years later.

    Mark is also interested in how school children can benefit from philosophy. He runs a programme that involves training Brookes Philosophy undergraduates to lead philosophy with children sessions and organises placements for them in  local schools. 

    • Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy Cognitive Science


    Journal articles

    • Cain M, 'Conventions and their role in language'
      Philosophia 41 (1) (2013) pp.137-158
      ISSN: 0048-3893 eISSN: 0048-3893
      Abstract Website
    • Cain M, 'Learning, concept acquisition and psychological essentialism'
      Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4) (2013) pp.577-598
      ISSN: 1878-5158 eISSN: 1878-5158
      Abstract Website
    • Cain MJ, 'Essentialism, externalism and human nature'
      Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements 70 (July) (2012) pp.29-
      ISSN: 1358-2461 eISSN: 1358-2461
      Abstract Website
    • Cain M, 'Linguistics, psychology and the scientific study of language'
      Dialectica 64 (3) (2010) pp.385-404
      ISSN: 0012-2017 eISSN: 0012-2017
      Abstract Website

    Book chapters



    • 'The Usage Theory of Language Acquisition'. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Italian Society of Analytic Philosophy, University of L'Aquila, September 2013.
    • 'The Proxytype Theory of Concepts'. Paper presented at a conference on the philosophy of Jesse Prinz, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, August 2012.
    • 'Linguistic Conventions'. Paper presented at a conference on the philosophy of David Lewis, University  of Urbino, August 2011.
    • 'Radical Concept Nativism and Human Nature.' Paper presented at the Royal Institute of Philosophy conference on Human Nature, Oxford Brookes University, June 2010.
    • ‘Concept Nativism and LOT2’. Paper presented at Concepts and Consciousness workshop, University of Bristol, June 2009.
    • ‘Millikan on Convention’. Paper presented at the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology conference, Utrecht, Holland, June 2008.
    • ‘Linguistics and Psychology’. Paper presented at the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology conference, Geneva, July 2007.
    • ‘Language Acquisition and the Theory Theory’. Paper presented at the Mental Phenomena conference, Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik, Croatia, September 2006.