Metaphysics Research Cluster

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Metaphysics investigates some of the most fundamental questions in philosophy by focusing on the nature of what there is and could be. As a result of its continuing expansion, the philosophy department is now extremely strong in this area.

Our philosophers who work in this area include some of the most talented researchers in the field, and of course our Distinguished Research Professors who have made leading contributions to the most fundamental metaphysical debates. The researchers who form this cluster are very active in organising events and research projects. Together with our PG student community, they make our department a highly attractive place to study metaphysics.

 Some research topics that are of particular interest to the cluster include:

  • Modality
  • Fundamentality and grounding
  • Metaphysics of mathematical and logical objects
  • Space and time
  • Quantum mechanics and the nature of possibility
  • Time travel
  • Mereology
  • Causation

 

People

Dr Justin Clarke-Doane is a Birmingham Fellow. He is interesting in metaphysical questions related to a priori domains such as mathematics, logic, modality and morality. 

Dr Nikk Effingham is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy. He has published widely on mereology, persistence, supersubstantivalism, vagueness and time travel. More recently he has been interested on methodological principles in ontology and fundamentality.

Professor Hartry Field is a Distinguished Research Professor at Birmingham. He is also University Professor and Silver Professor of Philosophy at NYU. In metaphysics, he is famous for his work on nominalism and the status of mathematical objects. He has also worked on causation, realism and anti-realism, vagueness, the nature of properties and many other topics.

Professor Kit Fine is a Distinguished Research Professor at Birmingham and University Professor and Silver Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics at NYU. He is one of the leading metaphysicians. He has made ground-breaking contributions to debates about time, modality, essence, grounding, parthood and many other areas.

Dr Nick Jones is a Birmingham Fellow. His research lies at the intersection of metaphysics with the philosophy of language and logic. Within metaphysics, he works on objecthood, mereology, modality, properties, identity and persistence. He is also interested in the metaphysical foundations of logic and language.

Professor Scott Sturgeon has investigated some of the most fundamental topics in metaphysics such as space, time, causation, possibility and Humean supervenience.

Dr Alastair Wilson is a Birmingham Fellow, who specialises in metaphysics and philosophy of physics. His main focus has been on how interpretations of quantum mechanics can be used to understand the nature of possibility. His other research interests in metaphysics include fundamentality, causation, dispositions, counterfactuals and space and time.

 

Postgraduate study

For postgraduates interested in studying programmes or modules in this area of philosophy we offer the Philosophy MA.Our combined research and taught Philosophy MRes programme also includes modules in metaphysics, and those wishing to conduct pure research in the field may register for the Philosophy Phd programme.

We have a number of postgraduate researchers interested in metaphysics at Birmingham (for more information about their research projects, see our PG research page). All of our postgraduate students benefit from the academic strengths of our research clusters and are often co-supervised by our Distinguished Research Professors and members of staff from associated clusters across the College of Arts and Law, so that they have access to different perspectives on their research topic. If you are interested in doing postgraduate research in metaphysics at Birmingham, please feel free to contact our Director of Research Admissions, Professor Scott Sturgeon (s.sturgeon@bham.ac.uk). .

Current and recent staff research projects