Carl Hoefer

Universitat de Barcelona (UB)


I did my PhD in Philosophy at Stanford University, under the direction of Peter Galison and Nancy Cartwright. My first academic position was  at the University of California, Riverside. In 1998 I moved to the London School of Economics to join the department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method. In 2001-2002, just before joining ICREA, I became Director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences at LSE (CPNSS). From Fall of 2002 to Summer of 2013 I was an ICREA based at the UAB philosophy department. From 2005-2013 I was coordinator of the research group GRECC based at the UAB. Since June 2009, I have been Editor in Chief of a new international journal, the European Journal for Philosophy of Science, published by Springer. In July 2013 I began a leave of absence from ICREA to take up the Directorship of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University in Canada (, and I returned to ICREA in July 2015.

Research interests

My research has mostly addressed age-old metaphysical questions by examining the metaphysics of nature that flows from our best scientific theories. In particular, I work on the nature of space, time and motion as revealed by physics (especially, Einstein’s theories of relativity); and on the nature of objective probability as revealed by its uses in many branches of science and other human activities.  At present my research is turning to two traditional big issues in the philosophy of science: scientific realism (i.e., should we take our best scientific theories to be giving us the truth about the world?) and the nature of laws of nature.

Selected publications

Hoefer C & Smeenk C 2016, ‘Philosophy of the Physical Sciences’ in Humphreys P (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science, Oxford University Press, New York.

Hoefer C 2016, ‘Objective chance: not propensity, maybe determinism’, Lato Sensu, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 31-42.

Selected research activities

– Keynote speaker: “Scientific Realism Reformulated”, 4th Pan-Hellenic Conference of Philosophy of Science, Athens, Greece, December 2, 2016.

– Co-Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal for Philosophy of Science.

– As joint IP, awarded Spanish Ministry (MEC) project FFI2016-76799-P, “Laws, explanation and realism in physical and biomedical sciences”, with FPI doctoral student grant.