Carl Hoefer

Carl Hoefer

Universitat de Barcelona


I did my PhD in Philosophy at Stanford University with 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. From 2002-2013 I was an ICREA at the UAB philosophy department. From 2005-2013 I was coordinator of the research group GRECC at the UAB. From 2009 - 2017 I was the founding Editor in Chief of the European Journal for Philosophy of Science, published by Springer.  After a two-year soujourn in Canada (2013-2015) I returned to ICREA and joined the University of Barcelona and the LOGOS research group in July 2015. I am currently Director of the Barcelona Institute of Analytic Philosophy (BIAP), and in 2019 my long-awaited book Chance in the World was published by Oxford University Press.

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 active research interests include three 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?); the nature of the (physical) laws of nature; and the tension between the manifest notion of time from daily experience and time as portrayed in our best theories of physics.  In addition, I am working on the arguments for the physical non-locality of nature based on quantum entanglement phenomena.

Selected publications

- Hoefer CMarti G 2020, 'Realism, reference & perspective', European Journal For Philosophy Of Science, 10, 3, 38.

- Hoefer C 2020, “Scientific Realism Without the Quantum, in Scientific Realism and the Quantum, ed. Steven French & Juha Saatsi, Oxford University Press.

- Vassallo A & Hoefer C 2020, 'The Metaphysics of Machian Frame-dragging', in Thinking About Space and Time (Einstein Studies volume 15), pp. 227-246. Springer.  

Selected research activities

Academic roles:

  • Director, Barcelona Institute of Analytic Philosophy (BIAP)
  • Colloquium organizer, LOGOS Research Group and BIAP
  • Member of Board of Governors, John Bell Institute
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Laws, Explanation and Realism in Physical and Biological Sciences. Spanish MICINN funded research project FFI2016-76799-P

Public lectures:

  • “Quantum Non-locality & Realism (Scientific and Metaphysical)”, Keynote address, Workshop Philosophical Issues of Quantum Mechanics, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (online).

PhD theses examined:

  • Scientific explanation in biology. Beyond mechanistic explanation, Roger Deulofeu Batllori, Universitat de Barcelona, 24/02/2020
  • Methodological strategies in contemporary symbiosis research and their historical roots: From
    mechanistic to non-mechanistic modes of explanation, 
    Javier Suárez Díaz, Universitat de Barcelona, 20/05/2020