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 School 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; paperback 2016) and a series of papers on dispositionalism in the context of modern physics and the relationship between science and metaphysics in general. He is currently exploring the connections between the philosophy of art and the philosophy of science and is particularly concerned with the similarities and differences between scientific theories and artworks. 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 Wendy Parker of the University of Durham) of The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (http://bjps.oxfordjournals.org/), 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 (www.palgrave.com/products/series.aspx?s=NDPS).

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), Fabio Ceravolo (Composition and Parthood in Science; co-supervised with Robbie Williams), Douglas Earl (Ontological Foundations of Quantum Field Theory; co-supervised with Juha Saatsi), Alice Murphy (Thought Experiments in Science and Art); Simon Newey (Probability and Decoherence in Quantum Mechanics; co-supervised with Juha Saatsi) and Nahuel Sznajderhaus (Inter-theory Relations Between Classical and Quantum Mechanics).

Former PhD students include Otávio Bueno (University of Miami), George Darby (University of Oxford), James Fraser (Edelstein Centre, University of Jerusalem), James Ladyman (University of Bristol), Kerry McKenzie (University of California, 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

Recent Publications

  • The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation. Oxford University Press, 2014 (pbk 2016).
  • Philosophy of Science: Key Concepts, Bloomsbury Academic , 2016 (2nd ed. of Science: Key Concepts in Philosophy, updated and with new ch. on explanation). 
  • ‘Eliminating Objects Across the Sciences’, in A. Guay and T. Pradeu (eds.), Individuals Across Sciences, Oxford University Press, pp. 371-394, 2016. 
  • ‘Rethinking Outside the Toolbox: Reflecting Again on the Relationship Between Philosophy of Science and Metaphysics’, with K. McKenzie, in T. Bigaj and C. Wuthrich (eds), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Rodopi, pp. 145-174, 2015
  • 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.

 Further papers can be found via http://philpapers.org/s/Steven%20French

or by emailing me at: s.r.d.french@leeds.ac.uk