People


Alastair Wilson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. He works in metaphysics, philosophy of physics, philosophy of science and epistemology. As PI of FraMEPhys he is developing a new general framework for understanding non-causal forms of explanation as they are employed in physics. Prior to FraMEPhys, his research focus has been on the metaphysics of quantum mechanics, culminating in his book The Nature of Contingency which is out now with Oxford University Press.


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Katie Robertson joined FraMEPhys as a Research Fellow in October 2018, after PhD research at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Her main area of interest is philosophy of physics and she is currently working in the philosophy of statistical mechanics. Before coming to Cambridge, Katie received the BPhil at Oxford (University College) and prior to that she completed her MSci in Physics and Philosophy at Bristol.  


Michael Townsen Hicks joined FraMEPhys as a Research Fellow in September 2019. He is mostly interested in the ways we use scientific laws and models to understand what’s possible, and what isn’t. Previously he was a wissenschaftlicher mitarbeiter at the Universität zu Köln in Cologne, Germany, and a research fellow on the Consolidation of Fine-Tuning project at the University of Oxford. He did his PhD thesis under Barry Loewer at Rutgers University.


Noelia Iranzo Ribera is a PhD researcher within the FraMEPhys project at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Birmingham. She holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Barcelona, where she followed a minor in Fundamental Physics, and a MSc in History and Philosophy of Science from Utrecht University. Her interests comprise mainly the fields of foundations of physics, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and feminist epistemology. Causation – the common thread underlying all her research interests – is the reason why Noelia got interested in the project in the first place. She hopes to contribute to FraMEPhys’s research by focusing on the case study of quantum entangled systems, aiming to characterize the causal relation between entangled states of a composite system and clarify the relationship between this type of causation and the so-called ‘arrow of time’.


Nicholas Emmerson is a PhD researcher within the FraMEPhys project at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Birmingham. He joined in July 2020 after completing a BA and MA at the University of Kent, the MPhil at the University of Cambridge and a year of PhD study at King’s, London. He is interested in the metaphysics of grounding and the philosophy of scientific progress.


Francis Longworth is the Project Administrator for the FraMEPhys project, having joined in January 2020; he is also a Research Associate with the project. He was previously Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ohio University. He did his PhD on causation at the University of Pittsburgh and was a graduate affiliate at MIT. Francis also works in the Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Birmingham, where his interests are causal modelling and Bayesianism as they relate to the methodology of clinical trials. 


Dan Marshall is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lingnan University and was a Visiting Fellow within the FraMEPhys project during June 2019. He and works in metaphysics and in related areas in logic and the philosophy of science; during his visit to FraMEPhys he worked on explanation, facts and grounding and presented at a project seminar and workshop.


Jean Baynham is a Visiting Artist with the FraMEPhys project. Her work focuses on the investigation of patterns, from the everyday world to the natural world to the unseen world of the microscopic. She looks for the relationships between these patterns to understand the meaning of our reality. Her investigations have led her to areas such as fractals, feedback loops, cymatics, (the visualisation of sound) and geometry, and more recently her focus has turned to digital physics and the possibility that we are living in a virtual world. 


John Barnden is Professor Emeritus of AI at the School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, and a Research Associate with the FraMEPhys project. His primary work relevant to the project is on the metaphysics and physics of consciousness (whether in artefacts or natural systems), with leanings towards both process philosophy and neo-phenomenology. It also brings in the nature of time and of causation. His other main recent work, in AI and Cognitive Science more generally, has been on the nature and processing of figurative language, particularly metaphor. This work has largely been separate from his work in consciousness, but one confluence has been the role of metaphoricality in some conscious phenomenality.


Joaquim Giannotti is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Birmingham and joined FraMEPhys as a Research Associate in September 2020. He works in metaphysics and metaphysical areas of the philosophy of science. Joaquim is currently articulating a novel theory of grounding that can capture non-asymmetrical dependencies such as those displayed by quantum entangled components. He is also interested in how we should think of the fundamental in a way which is both illuminating and befitting of our best science. Before coming to Birmingham, Joaquim did his PhD on the metaphysics of fundamental properties and the ontology of powers at Glasgow.


Aaron Sloman is Honorary Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science at the University of Birmingham and a Research Associate with the FraMEPhys project. Since switching from mathematics to philosophy as a graduate student in 1959 he has been attempting to explain what’s true in Kant’s analysis of mathematical knowledge: locating mathematical discovery in an ever broader and deeper biological context, originating with ancient chemistry-based information-processing shared with many species, but continually enriched and diversified through multiple evolutionary transitions using increasingly sophisticated evolved construction-kits for building both physical components and control-systems for using them. As part of FraMEPhys he has been exploring links between this project and the metaphysics of grounding and causation.