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 is currently finishing a book on structural realism and is planning to explore further the relationship between science and metaphysics and also 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 the phenomenological approach to quantum mechanics.

Steven is co-editor (with Michela Massimi of UCL) 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, (), James Fraser (Ontology of Quantum Field Theory), Vasiliki Nassiopoulou (Supervenience and Space-Time; co-supervised with Juha Saatsi), Anthony Paddle (Models and Scientific Explanation), Dave Race (Indispensability and 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 Leeds), George Darby (University of Kent), Maria Kon (University of Sydney), James Ladyman (University of Bristol), Kerry McKenzie (University of Calgary), Dean Rickles (University of Sydney), Juha Saatsi (University of Leeds), Sam Schindler (Aarhus University), Pete Vickers (University of Durham), among others.

Forthcoming Publications

  • The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • 'The Resilience of Laws and the Ephemerality of Objects: Can A Form of Structuralism be Extended to Biology?', forthcoming in D. Dieks et. al. (eds), Probability, Laws and Structures, Springer.
  • 'Whither Wave-Function Realism?', forthcoming in D. Albert and A. Ney, The Wave Function, OUP.
  • ‘Disentangling Mathematical and Physical Explanation: Symmetry, Spin and the ‘Hybrid Nature’ of Physical Quantities’

Recent Publications

  • 'Can Mathematics Explain Physical Phenomena?', with O. Bueno, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63, pp. 85-113, 2012.

  • 'The Presentation of Objects and the Representation of Structure', in E. Landry and D. Rickles (eds.), Structure, Object, and Causality: Proceedings of the Banff Workshop on Structural Realism, University of Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science; Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 3-28, 2012.

  • ‘Semi-realism, Sociability and Structure’, Erkenntnis, OnLine First DOI: 10.1007/s10670-012-9417-0.

  • ‘Thinking Outside the (Tool)Box: Towards a More Productive Engagement Between Metaphysics and Philosophy of Physics’ with K. McKenzie, The European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8, pp. 42-59, 2012.

  • ‘Unitary Inequivalence as a Problem for Structural Realism’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43, pp. 121-136, 2012.

 Further papers can be found via

or by emailing me at: