University of Hertfordshire

Professor Paul Coates

Professor Emeritus

Paul Coates

Professor Paul Coates

Professor Emeritus


Paul Coates

Professor Emeritus of Mind and Metaphysics
School of Humanities
Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Email Address:
Telephone Number: 01707285656

Current membership and appointments:

The Royal Institute of Philosophy Executive Board;
Scientific Board of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, Institute of Philosophy, London.
AHRC Peer Review College for philosophy funding awards.
UK Perception & Embodied Phenomenology Research Group.

Paul Coates took a first degree in Philosophy with Psychology, followed by an MA in Philosophy, at the University of Sussex. He took his PhD in Philosophy at University College, London.
As Head of Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire he lead the Philosophy Group during a period of expansion from 1992 to 1999, and was Research Leader in Humanities from 1999-2002. He was President of the Mind Association for 1998-1999, and gave the inaugural address at the 1998 annual conference held jointly by the Mind Association and the Aristotelian Society.

In 2006 Paul Coates acted as the British co-organiser of an international conference on Wilfrid Sellars: Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind after 50 Years, which took place at the Institute of Philosophy, London University, and was supported by grants from the British Academy, The Mind Association, and The Aristotelian Society. He has given invited lecture tours in Scotland and the United States on topics connected with perception.
He is currently the Principal Investigator of a three-year project to examine the nature of Phenomenal Qualities, funded by an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He has published in Mind, Philosophical Quarterly, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Philosophical Studies, and other leading journals.

Areas of Research Interest:

Perception and Phenomenal Qualities; Structural and Scientific Realism; Wilfrid Sellars; Kripke, Wittgenstein and Normativity; Chess and Philosophy.

Grants and Awards:

Principal Investigator of a research project to examine the nature of Phenomenal Qualities, funded by a three-year award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, from 2009-2012.
Recipient of a matched leave, one-year award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for research for the book The Metaphysics of Perception, 2002-03.
Recipient of an award from the US National Endowment for Humanities, for the study of the history of American Philosophy, 1976.

Research Outputs


Coates, P 2007, The Metaphysics of Perception: Wilfrid Sellars, Perceptual Consciousness, and Critical Realism. Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Philosophy, vol. 20, Routledge, London, New York.
Coates, P & Hutto, D 1996, Current issues in idealism. Continuum.


Chess, Imagination and Perceptual Understanding

Coates, P., Nov 2013, Philosophy and Sport. O'Hear, A. (ed.). Cambridge University Press, 26 p. Chap 13. (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements; vol. 73).

Projection Revelation and the Function of Perception

Coates, P., 20 Aug 2015, Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception and Consciousness. Coates, P. & Coleman, S. (eds.). Oxford : OUP, 27 p. Chap 6

Hallucinations and the Transparency of Perception

Coates, P., Aug 2013, Hallucination: Philosophy and Psychology. Macpherson, F. & Platchais, D. (eds.). Cambridge: Mass: MIT Press, p. 381-398

Brandom's Two-Ply Error

Coates, P. & de Vries, W. H., 2010, Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity and Realism: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars. de Vries, W. (ed.). 1 ed. New York: OUP, Vol. chapter 5. p. 131-145 15 p.

Perception Imagination and Demonstrative Reference

Coates, P., 2010, Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity and Realism. de Vries, W. (ed.). New York: OUP, p. 63-100 38 p.

The Multiple Contents of Experience: Representation and the Awareness of Phenomenal Qualities

Coates, P., 2009, In : Philosophical Topics. 37, 1, p. 25-47 23 p.

Experience, action and representations: Critical realism and the enactive theory of vision

Coates, P., 2007, In : Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. 6, 4, p. 445-462

Wilfred Sellars, perceptual consciousness and theories of attention

Coates, P., 2004, In : Essays in Philosophy. 5, 1

Deviant Causal Chains and Hallucination: A Problem for the Anti-Causalist

Coates, P., 2000, In : Philosophical Quarterly. 50, p. 320-331 12 p.

The Inaugural Address: Perception and metaphysical scepticism

Coates, P., 1998, In : Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume. 72, 1, p. 1-28

Meaning, mistake and miscalculation

Coates, P., 1997, In : Minds and Machines. 7, 2, p. 171-197

Swinburne on thought and consciousness

Coates, P., 1987, In : Philosophical Studies. 52, 2, p. 227-238

Kripke's sceptical paradox: normativeness and meaning

Coates, P., 1986, In : Mind. 95, 377, p. 77-80