Professor Steven French

Professor Steven French

Professor of Philosophy of Science

+44 (0)113 34 33279

Summary: Philosophy of Science; History of Physics; Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics.

Steven joined the Department in 1993 after holding previous appointments in Brazil and the USA.

He is Professor of the Philosophy of Science and his teaching and research interests are in the philosophy of science and the history and philosophy of modern physics. He has recently published a book on structural realism (The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation; OUP 2014) and is currently working on a series of papers on monism, dispositionalism and the relationship between science and metaphysics in general. He is also planning to explore further the connections between the philosophy of art and the philosophy of science with regard to the nature of scientific and artistic objects. At some point he is going to stun the world (or not) with a book on Husserl and the phenomenological approach to quantum mechanics.

Steven is Co-Editor-in-Chief (with Michela Massimi of the University of Edinburgh) of The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (, one of the most highly regarded journals in the field. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Palgrave-Macmillan series, New Directions in Philosophy of Science (

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of Science, especially models and the semantic approach, representation and structural realism
  • Philosophy of Physics, especially the metaphysical foundations of quantum mechanics
  • History of Physics, especially twentieth century

Research Students

PhD supervision can be offered in all of the above areas. 

Current PhD students include Callum Duguid (Humean forms of Structuralism), James Fraser (Ontology of Quantum Field Theory), Vasiliki Nassiopoulou (Quantum Gravity and Process Philosophy), Dave Race (Indispensability and the Applicability of Mathematics; co-supervised with Juha Saatsi) and Jakob Sprickerhof (Causation and the Foundations of Quantum Field Theory).

Former PhD students include Otávio Bueno (University of Miami), Angelo Cei (University of Rome), George Darby (University of Oxford), Maria Kon (University of Sydney), James Ladyman (University of Bristol), Kerry McKenzie (University of San Diego), Dean Rickles (University of Sydney), Juha Saatsi (University of Leeds), Sam Schindler (Aarhus University), Pete Vickers (University of Durham), among others.

Forthcoming Publications

  • ‘Eliminating Objects Across the Sciences’, forthcoming in A. Guay and T. Pradeu (eds.), Individuals Across the Sciences, Oxford University Press. 
  • ‘Rethinking Outside the Toolbox: Reflecting Again on the Relationship Between Philosophy of Science and Metaphysics’, with K. McKenzie, forthcoming in T. Bigaj and C. Wuthrich (eds), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities

  • Between Weasels and Hybrids: What Does the Applicability of Mathematics Tell us about Ontology?’ forthcoming in J-Y Beziau and D. Krause (eds.), Tribute to Patrick Suppes, College Publications.

Recent Publications

  • The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • The Bloomsbury Companion to the Philosophy of Science, with Juha Saatsi (eds.), Bloomsbury, 2014 (2nd ed.; 2011).
  • ‘Whither Wave-Function Realism?’, in D. Albert and A. Ney, The Wave Function, OUP, pp.76-90, 2013.
  • ‘Semi-realism, Sociability and Structure’, Erkenntnis, 78, pp. 1-18, 2013.

 Further papers can be found via

or by emailing me at: