Prof Alastair Wilson


I'm a philosopher at the University of Leeds, working on metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science and philosophy of physics. My doctoral thesis was on the metaphysics of Everettian (many-worlds) quantum mechanics; this line of thought culminated in my book The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism (OUP, 2020). More recently I have worked on explanation and dependence in physics and metaphysics as part of my ERC-funded project FraMEPhys on metaphysical explanation in physics which ran 2018-2023. I have also worked on laws of nature, chance, counterfactuals, and the epistemology of disagreement and of self-locating beliefs. I was President of the Society for the Metaphysics of Science in 2017-18, Honorary Secretary, Committee Member, Journal Liaison and Trustee of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science from 2018-23, and a member of the Climate Committee of the Philosophy of Science Association from 2021-23. I remain on the Council of the SMS. I am PhilPapers editor for the categories Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and Theories of Modality, an Associate Editor of The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, a member of the editorial board of Philosophy of Physics and a Managing Editor of Ergo. You can email me at .

A Framework for Metaphysical Explanation in Physics (FraMEPhys): ERC Project 2018-2023

The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism. OUP, 2020.

The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics. Routledge, 2022.

Co-edited with Eleanor Knox (King's)

Available in hardback, paperback and eBook: Routledge - Amazon - Google

Chapter preprints: list of chapters where the author has provided an online preprint.

Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. OUP, 2014.

Contributors: David Z. Albert, Alexander Bird, Antony Eagle, Mathias Frisch, Alan Hájek, Toby Handfield, Carl Hoefer, Aidan Lyon, Christopher J. G. Meacham, L. A. Paul, Wolfgang Schwarz, David Wallace, Brad Weslake, Jessica Wilson, Alastair Wilson.

Available: Oxford University Press - Amazon - Google

Reviews: Nina Emery, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews; Craig Callender, Australasian Journal of Philosophy; Patricia Palacios, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science.

Online Research

[click title for postprint pdf; click journal name for published version.]

"Four Grades of Modal Naturalism", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, forthcoming.

"Metaphysical Emergence as Higher-Level Naturalness". In Rethinking Emergence, eds. Amanda Bryant and David Yates, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

"Theoretical Relicts: Progress, Reduction, and Autonomy" (with Katie Robertson), The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, forthcoming.

"Explaining the Big Bang", in Journal of Physics: Conference Series (HAPP 10th Anniversary Commemorative Volume), forthcoming.

"Does Fine-Tuning Support the Existence of a Multiverse?", in Journal of Physics: Conference Series (HAPP 10th Anniversary Commemorative Volume), forthcoming.

"How Chance Explains" (with Michael Townsen Hicks), Noûs 57(2): 290-315, 2023.

"Necessity First", Argumenta 14, 2022.

"Fundamentality and Levels in Everettian Quantum Mechanics". In Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality, ed. Valia Allori, Springer, 2022.

"Plenitude and Recombination". In Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis, eds. Helen Beebee and Anthony Fisher, Oxford University Press, 2022.

"Counterpossible Reasoning in Physics", Philosophy of Science 88(5): 1113-1124, 2021.

"Explanations of and in Time". In Philosophy Beyond Spacetime, eds. Chris Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan and Nick Huggett, Oxford University Press, 2021.

"Classifying Dependencies". In The Foundation of Reality: Fundamentality, Space and Time, eds. David Glick, George Darby and Anna Marmodoro, Oxford University Press, 2020.

"A Minimalist Ontology of the Natural World, by Michael Esfeld and Dirk-André Deckert" (Review), dialectica 74(3): 583-589, 2020.

"Causation, Explanation, and the Metaphysics of Aspect, by Bradford Skow" (Review), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2019.

"Making Things Up, by Karen Bennett" (Review), Mind 128(510): 588-600, 2019.

"Metaphysical Causation", Noûs 52(4): 723-751, 2018.

"Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non-Triviality", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96(3): 716-728, 2018.

"The Quantum Revolution in Philosophy, by Richard Healey" (Review), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2018.

"Super-Humeanism: Insufficiently Naturalistic and Insufficiently Explanatory", Metascience 27(3): 427-431, 2018.

"Skow on the Passage of Time", Analysis 78(1): 117-128, 2018. Skow's reply.

"The Quantum Doomsday Argument", The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68(2): 597-617, 2017.

"The Magic of Mirrors" (with Aaron Sloman), 2015.

"Chance and Context" (with Toby Handfield). In Chance and Temporal Asymmetry, Oxford University Press, 2014.

"Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty", The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65(3): 573-598, 2014. Bradley's reply.

"Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief, by Michael Titelbaum" (Review), in The British Journal for Philosophy of Science 65(4):887-891, 2014.

"Metaphysics and Science, eds. Mumford & Tugby" (Review), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2014.

"Bradley on Chance, Admissibility, and the Mind of God", 2013. Discussion of Darren Bradley's reply to my "Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty".

"Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics", The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64(4): 709-737, 2013.

"Schaffer on Laws of Nature", Philosophical Studies 164(3): 653-667, 2013.

"The Emergent Multiverse: Quantum Theory according to the Everett Interpretation, by David Wallace" (Review), Metascience 22(3): 583-586, 2013.

"Mind, Meaning, and Reality, by Hugh Mellor" (Review), Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91(3): 626-627, 2013.

"Everettian Quantum Mechanics Without Branching Time", Synthèse 188(1): 67-84, 2012.

"The Human Story Behind Everettian Quantum Mechanics" (Review), Metascience 21(1): 143-146, 2012.

"Macroscopic Ontology in Everettian Quantum Mechanics", Philosophical Quarterly 61(243): 363–382, 2011.

"Modality: Metaphysics, Logic and Epistemology, eds. Hale & Hoffman" (Review), Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89(4): 755-756, 2011.

"Disagreement, Equal Weight, and Commutativity", Philosophical Studies 149(3): 321-326, 2010.

"Disposition-manifestations and Reference-frames", dialectica 63(4): 591-601, 2009.

Public Philosophy

Online Talks

"Ways and Whys", Inaugural Lecture, University of Birmingham, 2022.

"Substantive Discovery in Naturalistic Modal Metaphysics", Bristol, 2020.

"Quantum Metaphysics", Edinburgh, 2020.

"Plenitude and Recombination", Manchester, 2019.

"Counterpossible Reasoning in Physics", Birmingham, 2019.

"Emergent Contingency", Edinburgh, 2016.

"Emergent Spacetime: Grounded or Caused?", Chicago, 2016.

"Metaphysical Causation", Edinburgh, 2015.

"Quantum Mechanics and the Metaphysics of Many Worlds", St Andrews, 2012.