Alexander Franklin

I'm a lecturer in philosophy at King's College London. Before 2020, I was a postdoctoral research associate with 'The Metaphysical Unity of Science' project at the University of Bristol (where I'm still an honorary research associate). Prior to that I was a teaching fellow at King's College London, where I also completed my PhD.


Through my research I aim to understand why there is anything other than fundamental physics. In other words, my goal is to develop explanations of the existence of the special (non-fundamental) sciences, notwithstanding that the special sciences are, in some sense, reducible to physics.


I think that explanations of the existence of the special sciences generally have the following form: 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. 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. I argue that this framework can shed light on a very wide variety of higher-level kinds, including socially constructed kinds.

For a more detailed account of my research, my papers are available here, and more accessible accounts of my work are available here.


My PhD at King's was awarded in 2019, was supervised by Dr Eleanor Knox and Professor David Papineau, and was 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.