Metaphysics of Science Reading Group (MSRG)

Published: 3 October 2019

The MSRG holds 1-hour meetings fortnightly. The reading group is open to students and staff members.


At heart, metaphysics of science aims to answer several ontological and metaphysical questions that arise within the natural sciences. A non-exhaustive list of questions that metaphysicians of science aspire to answer comprises: What exactly is a law of nature? What is a causal process? When is a sentence ‘if such-and-such were the case, then this-and-that would happen’ true? What is the nature of the natural order? What are natural kinds?

The aims of the Metaphysics of Science Reading Group (MSRG) are:

  • to develop knowledge about some core issues in the metaphysics of science.
  • to provide a friendly and inclusive forum for those who are interested in epistemological and metaphysical questions concerning science.
  • to foster collaboration among its participants.

The MSRG holds 1-hour meetings fortnightly. The reading group is open to students and staff members. Students and members who identify with underrepresented groups in academia are warmly encouraged to participate. Dates and times, and other practical matters will be announced in due course.

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday 9th October. Time & Venue tbc. Please send an email to Joaquim Giannotti at if you wish to join the MSRG and be included in its mailing list. News and practicalities concerning the MSRG will be sent via the mailing list.

Meetings & Readings

All papers will be distributed via email. If you are unable to access a paper, please email Joaquim (for J’s email address, see above). Below you can find a provisional reading list for this year MSRG. Note that the reading list is subject to changes. These will be announced via the mailing list.


  • Meeting 1: Anjan Chakravartty's, The Structuralist Conception of Objects.
  • Meeting 2: Kerry, McKenzie, Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination Kerry McKenzie
  • Meeting 3: Nora Berenstain & James Ladyman, Ontic Structural Realism and Modality Nora

Natural Kinds

  • Meeting 4: Travis Dumsday , Natural Kinds and the Problem of Complex Essences
  • Meeting 5: Laura Franklin-Hall, Natural kinds as categorical bottlenecks
  • Meeting 6: Nora Berenstain, Necessary Laws and Chemical Kinds Nora Berenstain

Physics and Macro-Objects

  • Meeting 7: Alyssa Ney, Finding the World in the Wave Function: Some Strategies for Solving the Macro-object Problem


  • Meeting 8: Carl Gillett, Constitution and Science Moving beyond the subset model of realization: The problem of qualitative distinctness in the metaphysics of science


  • Meeting 9: Alexander Skiles, Emergence reinflated


  • Meeting 10: James Woodward, Interventionism and Causal Exclusion

First published: 3 October 2019