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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 sojourn 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-anticipated 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 these topics: scientific realism (i.e., should we take our best scientific theories to be giving us objective truth about the world?); how to understand quantum non-locality; and the connection between the descriptions of the world given in physics and the descriptions familiar from higher-level sciences and everyday experience.

Selected publications

Hoefer, Carl; Krauss, Alexander 2021, ‘Measures of effectiveness in medical research: Reporting both absolute and relative measures’, Studies In History And Philosophy Of Science, 88, 280 – 283.

– Huggett, Nick, Carl Hoefer, and James Read, ‘Absolute and Relational Space and Motion: Post-Newtonian Theories‘, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2021 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),

Sturm TS, Hoefer C & Rosenkranz S 2021, Topical Collection:  Instrumentalism about Rationality, Synthese.

Selected research activities

In 2020-2021 I organized a series of lectures by analytic philosophers concerning the science and politics of lockdowns (and other pandemic response measures).

In Sept. 2021, my research group (co-led with Jose Díez) began a new 4-year Ministry project, Reassessing Scientific Objectivity (PID2020-115114GBI00).

Public lectures:

  • “Scientific realism and direct reference to unobservable natural kinds”,
    Invited talk, Institute of Philosophy, Research Center for Humanities,
    Budapest, Hungary (online). January 2021.
  • “Realism, Reference & Perspective”, with Genoveva Martí, invited talk at
    conference Metaphysics from a Human Point of View, U. Edinburgh (online). April 2021.
  • “Bell’s Assumptions and the Structure of Quantum Mechanics”, with Márton
    Gömöri, EPSA21, contributed paper, Torino, Italy. September 2021.
  • “Reference and Unobservable Entities”, invited talk, Fifth Parma Workshop on Semantics
    and Pragmatics, University of Parma, Italy.
  • “Physicalism & Fundamental Physics: A Challenge for Hemmo and
    Shenker”, invited talk, PRIN Workshop: The manifest image and the scientific image:
    objects, properties and relations, University of Florence, Italy.
  • “Humean Chance & Causation”, invited talk, Workshop on Causal
    Explanation, University of Trento, Italy. 

PhD theses examined:

  • ​Alfonso García Lapeña, Truthlikeness for Deterministic and Probabilistic Laws, University of Barcelona, December 2021.


ICREA Memoir 2021