Photo of John Heil

John Heil FAHA

​Professor of Philosophy
PhD, Vanderbilt University
research interests:
  • Metaphysics
  • Logic
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Early Modern Philosophy
    View All People

    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1073
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
    image of book cover

    Professor Heil is listed among the 50 Most Influential Living Philosophers. He works primarily in metaphysics and philosophy of mind and has teaching interests in metaphysics, logic, philosophy of mind, and early modern philosophy.

    In 2020, John Heil was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He was a 2019–2020 Fulbright-Australia Fellow at Monash University, and the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 2018–19. Heil's most recent books include From an Ontological Point of View (Oxford University Press 2006) and The Universe as We Find It (Oxford University Press 2012). Appearance in Reality (Oxford University Press), What is Metaphysics? (Polity Press), and An Introduction to First-Order Logic (Hackett) will appear in 2021.

    Professor Heil's Institute of Art and Ideas lectures on The Universe as We Find It, delivered at Hay-on-Wye in 2014 at the 'HOWTHELIGHTGETSIN' festival, and a recent piece on the Secrets of Experience on can be found on the Institute's Philosophy for Our Times webpage.

    Further Reading

    Richard Marshall's 3:AM Magazine interview with John Heil on The Universe as We Find It

    Tony Sobrado's Biggest Questions interview with John Heil on 'What is Consciousness?'

    From an Ontological Point of View

    From an Ontological Point of View

    From an Ontological Point of View is a highly original and accessible exploration of fundamental questions about what there is. John Heil discusses such issues as whether the world includes levels of reality; the nature of objects and properties; the demands of realism; what makes things true; qualities, powers, and the relation these bear to one another. He advances an account of the fundamental constituents of the world around us, and applies this account to problems that have plagued recent work in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics (color, intentionality, and the nature of consciousness).

    Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction

    Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction

    When first published, John Heil's introduction quickly became a widely used guide for students with little or no background in philosophy to central issues of philosophy of mind. Heil provided an introduction free of formalisms, technical trappings, and specialized terminology. He offered clear arguments and explanations, focusing on the ontological basis of mentality and its place in the material world. The book concluded with a systematic discussion of questions the book raises--and a sketch of a unified metaphysics of mind--thus inviting scholarly attention while providing a book very well suited for an introductory course.

    This Third Edition builds on these strengths and incorporates new material on theories of consciousness, computationalism, the language of thought, and animal minds as well as other emerging areas of research. With an updated reading list at the end of each chapter and a revised bibliography, this new edition will again make it the indispensable primer for anyone seeking a better understanding of the central metaphysical issues in philosophy of mind.

    Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology

    Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology

    This anthology provides a comprehensive and self-contained introduction to the philosophy of mind. Featuring an extensive and varied collection of fifty classical and contemporary readings, it also offers substantial section introductions--which set the extracts in context and guide readers through them--discussion questions, and guides to further reading. Ideal for undergraduate courses, the book is organized into twelve sections, providing instructors with flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of courses.