Pembroke College, Oxford University
Academic Year 2013-14
Concepts of Reduction and Emergence in Physics
Josh recently completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Oxford, where his research focused on philosophy of physics, foundations of physics and philosophy of science. His thesis explored the nature of inter-theory relations in physics both from a general methodological point of view and by examining particular case studies of reduction: namely, between classical and quantum, and relativistic and non-relativistic, theories. In the thesis, he argues that dynamical systems theory furnishes a particularly clear-cut framework in which to understand a wide range of inter-theory relations in physics, and illustrates the application of this framework in a number of particular cases.
His current research interests continue to revolve around issues pertaining to reduction and emergence in physics and in the sciences more generally, as well as issues in the foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. While in Pittsburgh, he intends to revisit the discussion of the role of bridge laws in Nagel and Schaffner’s account of inter-theory reduction in light of certain reductions in physics, as well as to investigate certain reduction-related issues in the foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum-field theory.
Outside of philosophy, Josh enjoys playing blues guitar, tennis and reading literary fiction.