Professor Alastair Wilson BA, BPhil, DPhil (Oxon)

Professor Alastair Wilson

Department of Philosophy
Professor of Philosophy

Contact details

Address
ERI Building, University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT

I’m a philosopher focusing on research in metaphysics and philosophy of physics. I also have research interests in epistemology and philosophy of science. For more information please visit my personal website.

Qualifications

  • BA in Physics & Philosophy (Oxford, 2005)
  • BPhil in Philosophy (Oxford, 2007)
  • DPhil in Philosophy (Oxford, 2011)

Biography

After completing undergraduate and graduate studies at various Oxford colleges, I spent a year and a half in Australia as a post-doc at Monash University, before joining Birmingham in 2012. My doctoral thesis was on the metaphysics of Everettian (many-worlds) quantum mechanics, and this line of thought culminated in my 2020 book The Nature of Contingency. More recently I have worked on explanation and dependence in physics and metaphysics as part of my ERC-funded project FraMEPhys, with a book manuscript in progress on metaphysical explanation in physics. I have also worked on laws of nature, chance, properties, causation, counterfactuals, and the epistemology of disagreement and of self-locating beliefs. I was President of the Society for Metaphysics of Science in 2017-18 and Honorary Secretary of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science in 2018-19. I remain on the SMS and BSPS committees, and am also a member of the climate task force of the Philosophy of Science Association. I am Philpapers editor for the categories 'Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics' and 'Theories of Modality', and a managing editor of the open-access journal Ergo.

Teaching

I'm currently teaching Early Modern Philosophy and Elements of Logic and Metaphysics to second year undergraduates, and Philosophy of Science to third years.

Postgraduate supervision

Alastair Wilson has undertaken research on the following subjects:

Fundamentality
Everettian Quantum Mechanics
Modality
Chance
Causation
Dispositions
Counterfactuals
Disagreement
Self-locating belief
Space and time

Dr Wilson is happy to supervise or co-supervise graduates in most areas of metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science and philosophy of physics.


Find out more - our PhD Philosophy  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

Publications

Highlight publications

Wilson, A 2020, The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198846215.001.0001

Wilson, A 2018, 'Metaphysical Causation', Noûs, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 723-751. https://doi.org/10.1111/nous.12190

Wilson, A 2020, Classifying Dependencies. in D Glick, G Darby & A Marmodoro (eds), The Foundation of Reality: Fundamentality, Space and Time. Oxford University Press, pp. 46.

Wilson, A & Handfield , T 2014, Chance and Context. in A Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press, pp. 19-44. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673421.003.0001

Recent publications

Book

Wilson, A (ed.) 2014, Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673421.001.0001

Article

Wilson, A 2020, 'Counterpossible Dependence in Physics', Philosophy of Science.

Wilson, A 2017, 'The quantum doomsday argument', The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axv035

Wilson, A 2016, 'Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non-Triviality', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 96, no. 3, pp. 716-728. https://doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12305

Wilson, A 2014, 'Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty', The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, vol. 65, no. 3, pp. 573-598. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axt018

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Wilson, A 2020, Anthropic Contingency. in The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism. Oxford University Press, pp. 185.

Wilson, A 2019, Explanations of and in Time. in Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford University Press.

Book/Film/Article review

Wilson, A 2020, 'A Minimalist Ontology of the Natural World, by Michael Esfeld and Dirk-André Deckert', Dialectica.

Wilson, A 2019, 'Causation, Explanation, and the Metaphysics of Aspect, by Bradford Skow', Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. <https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/causation-explanation-and-the-metaphysics-of-aspect/>

Wilson, A 2019, 'Making Things Up, by Karen Bennett', Mind, vol. 128, no. 510, pp. 588–600. https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzy047

Wilson, A 2018, 'Super-Humeanism: Insufficiently Naturalistic and Insufficiently Explanatory', Metascience, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 427-431. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11016-018-0326-y

Wilson, A 2018, 'The Quantum Revolution in Philosophy, by Richard Healey', Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. <https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/the-quantum-revolution-in-philosophy/>

Wilson, A 2014, '"Metaphysics and Science", eds. Stephen Mumford and Matthew Tugby', Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. <http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/46198-metaphysics-and-science/>

Wilson, A 2014, 'MICHAEL G. TITELBAUM: "Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief"', The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, vol. 65, no. 4, pp. 887-891. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axt056

Wilson, A 2013, '"Mind, Meaning and Reality"', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 91, no. 3, pp. 626-627. https://doi.org/10.1080/00048402.2013.818046

View all publications in research portal