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A Framework for Metaphysical Explanation in Physics

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "FraMEPhys" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Edgbaston
postcode: B15 2TT

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙481˙183 €
 EC max contribution 1˙481˙183 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-01-01   to  2022-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM UK (BIRMINGHAM) coordinator 1˙481˙183.00


 Project objective

There is a growing consensus that causal explanation is not the whole story about explanation in science. Metaphysics has seen intense recent attention to the notion of grounding; in philosophy of physics, the focus has been on mathematical and structural explanation. But the grounding debate has been criticized for insularity and disconnection from scientific practice, while work on explanation in physics tends to overlook the sophisticated logical systems and conceptual distinctions developed in metaphysics. This situation hinders understanding of novel explanatory scenarios n philosophy of physics, where familiar models of causal explanation seem to break down. FraMEPhys addresses these challenges by combining new conceptual innovations and insights from both metaphysics and philosophy of physics to transform our understanding of the nature of explanation.

FraMEPhys will engage systematically with the best work on explanation within metaphysics and philosophy of science to develop a new general framework for understanding metaphysical explanation in physics, based around the structural-equations approach to causation. The guiding idea is that the conceptual and methodological tools of structural-equations modelling can be extended beyond their familiar application to causal explanation. This promising strategy, based on ground-breaking recent work by the PI, will be applied in FraMEPhys to model the explanatory structures involved in three case studies from philosophy of physics: geometrical explanations of inertial and gravitational motion, explanation in the presence of closed time-like curves, and the explanatory connection between entangled quantum systems. FraMEPhys will develop new concepts for understanding the varieties of explanation, will provide a uniquely systematic treatment of some key cases in philosophy of physics, and will push forward fruitful interactions at the intersection of metaphysics, philosophy of science and philosophy of physics.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Alastair Wilson
The Quantum Revolution in Philosophy, by Richard Healey
published pages: , ISSN: 1538-1617, DOI:
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2019-09-05
2018 Alastair Wilson
Making Things Up, by Karen Bennett
published pages: 588-600, ISSN: 0026-4423, DOI: 10.1093/mind/fzy047
Mind 128/510 2019-09-05
2019 Katie Robertson
Stars and steam engines: To what extent do thermodynamics and statistical mechanics apply to self-gravitating systems?
published pages: 1783-1808, ISSN: 0039-7857, DOI: 10.1007/s11229-018-02032-5
Synthese 196/5 2019-09-05
2020 Alastair Wilson
Classifying Dependencies
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
The Foundation of Reality: Fundamentality, Space and Time, eds. David Glick, George Darby & Anna Marmodoro 2019-09-05
2019 Alastair WIlson
Causation, Explanation, and the Metaphysics of Aspect, by Bradford Skow
published pages: , ISSN: 1538-1617, DOI:
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2019-09-05
2018 Katie Robertson
Asymmetry, Abstraction, and Autonomy: Justifying Coarse-Graining in Statistical Mechanics
published pages: , ISSN: 0007-0882, DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axy020
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2019-09-05
2020 Alastair Wilson
Anthropic Contingency
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism, by Alastair Wilson 2019-09-05
2018 Alastair Wilson
Super-Humeanism: insufficiently naturalistic and insufficiently explanatory
published pages: 427-431, ISSN: 0815-0796, DOI: 10.1007/s11016-018-0326-y
Metascience 27/3 2019-09-05
2020 Alastair Wilson
Explanations of and in Time
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Philosophy Beyond Spacetime, eds. Chris Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan and Nick Huggett 2019-09-05

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