John Morrison


I am an assistant professor of philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University. I received my PhD from NYU in 2009. I'm currently on research leave.

In March I was on MSNBC to talk about the color of "the dress": clip


My research is primarily in the philosophy of mind and the history of modern philosophy (esp. the seventeenth century). I also have strong secondary interests in metaphysics, medieval philosophy, philosophy of language, and logic.

I am currently working on two projects. The first is about the way we visually represent colors, locations, and durations. It draws heavily on empirical psychology, particularly psychophysics and cognitive psychology. The second project is about the foundations of Spinoza's metaphysics. I hope to improve our understanding of his three basic, undefined relations: causation, conception, and inherence. I also hope to unravel his claims about God, finite things, and their essences.


"Colour in a Physical World,"
Mind (2012), final, appendix

"Conception and Causation in Spinoza's Metaphysics,"
Philosophers' Imprint (2013), final

"Restricting Spinoza's Causal Axiom,"
Philosophical Quarterly (2015), final, penultimate

"Anti-Atomism about Color Representation,"
Noûs (2015), final

"Triangulating How Things Look,"
Mind & Language (2015), final

"Truth in the Emendation,"
The Young Spinoza, Yitzhak Melamed (ed.) (2015), final

"Perceptual Confidence,"
Analytic Philosophy, forthcoming, penultimate
*Winner of the 2015 Sanders Prize in Philosophy of Mind


"Perceptual Structuralism," draft

In Progress

"Perceptual Variation and Ignorance"

"Spinoza on Mind, Body, and Numerical Identity"

"The Status of Essences in Spinoza's Metaphysics"

“The Structure of Perceptual Content”


Review of Valtteri Viljanen's Spinoza's Geometry of Power, British Journal for the History of Philosophy (2013), final

Review of De Rosa's Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation (with Elliot Paul), Mind (2014), draft

John Morrison


jmorrison [at]

Barnard Faculty Profile

Columbia Faculty Profile


September, 2015

PhD Students

Nemira Gasiunas

Jorge Morales

Jeremy Wolos