•  279
    Priority and Particle Physics: Ontic Structural Realism as a Fundamentality Thesis
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2): 353-380. 2014.
    In this article, I address concerns that the ontological priority claims definitive of ontic structural realism are as they stand unclear, and I do so by placing these claims on a more rigorous formal footing than they typically have been hitherto. I first of all argue that Kit Fine’s analysis of ontological dependence furnishes us with an ontological priority relation that is particularly apt for structuralism. With that in place, and with reference to two case studies prominent within the stru…Read more
  •  242
    Arguing against fundamentality
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4): 244-255. 2011.
    This paper aims to open up discussion on the relationship between fundamentality and naturalism, and in particular on the question of whether fundamentality may be denied on naturalistic grounds. A historico-inductive argument for an anti-fundamentalist conclusion, prominent within contemporary metaphysical literature, is examined; finding it wanting, an alternative ‘internal’ strategy is proposed. By means of an example from the history of modern physics - namely S-matrix theory - it is demonst…Read more
  •  206
    he relationship between metaphysics and science has recently become the focus of increased attention. Ladyman and Ross, in particular, have accused even naturalistically inclined metaphysicians of pursuing little more than the philosophy of A-level chemistry and have suggested that analytic metaphysics should simply be discontinued. In contrast, we shall argue, first of all, that even metaphysics that is disengaged from modern science may offer a set of resources that can be appropriated by phil…Read more
  •  95
    Ontic Structural Realism
    Philosophy Compass 12 (4). 2017.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core the view that “structure is ontologically fundamental.” Informed from its inception by the scientific revolutions that punctuated the 20th century, its advocates often present the position as the perspective on ontology best befitting of modern physics. But the idea that structure is fundamental has proved difficult to articulate adequately, and what OSR's claimed naturalistic credentials consist in is hard to precisify as well. Nor is it clear that the po…Read more
  •  87
    On the Fundamentality of Symmetries
    Philosophy of Science 81 (5): 1090-1102. 2014.
    The view that it is symmetries, not particles, that are fundamental to nature is frequently expressed by physicists. But comparatively little has been written either on what this claim means or whether it should be regarded as true. After placing the claim into a general fundamentality framework, I consider whether the priority of symmetries over particles can be defended. The conclusions drawn are largely negative
  •  69
    Relativities of fundamentality
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59 89-99. 2017.
  •  51
    In a recent work, ‘Thinking Outside the Toolbox’, we mounted a qualified defence of analytic metaphysics in the face of ardent criticism. While sympathizing with other philosophers of science in decrying the lack of engagement of metaphysicians with real science when addressing central metaphysical problems, we also wanted to acknowledge the role that analytic metaphysics has played in providing useful tools for naturalistic metaphysicians. This double-edged stance compels us to identify what fe…Read more