Alexander Franklin

I'm a postdoctoral research associate with 'The Metaphysical Unity of Science' project at the University of Bristol. Previously, I was a teaching fellow at King's College London, where I completed my PhD.


Through my research I aim to understand why there is anything other than fundamental physics. That is, I seek to characterise and explain the existence of the special (non-fundamental) sciences. I think that such explanations are generically downward-looking, where, say, features of lower-level systems (e.g. quantum mechanics or neurophysiology) can help explain the stability and autonomy of higher-level systems (respectively: classical mechanics or psychology). As such, my framework might be called 'reductionist'.


Much of my work involves the detailed examination of case studies, primarily sourced from physics; though future work will tackle cases in the biological and social sciences. In each case, I identify the structures and mechanisms which freeze out a set of lower-level variables, thus rendering the higher-level systems relatively autonomous. I claim that this ends up providing us with a reductive explanation of the emergence of higher-level science.


My PhD at King's was supervised by Dr Eleanor Knox and Professor David Papineau, and fully funded by a studentship from the London Arts and Humanities Partnership. I spent the autumn term in 2016 at the University of Pittsburgh where I worked with Professor Robert Batterman and Dr Porter Williams. I completed the MPhilStud degree at King's in 2015 and I graduated from the 4-year Physics and Philosophy MPhysPhil at Brasenose College, University of Oxford in 2013. I was taught philosophy at Brasenose by Dr Chris Timpson.