BSPS Video Lecture: Parallel Universes

Is Schrödinger’s cat alive or dead? This thought experiment was devised to illustrate a fundamental puzzle in quantum mechanics. A radical solution is that the cat is both alive and dead, but in different, parallel universes. This is the ‘many-worlds interpretation’ of quantum mechanics and our panel of philosophers and physicists will discuss why it is controversial and its strange consequences.

This panel lecture features Fay Dowker (Professor of Theoretical Physics, Imperial College London), Eleanor Knox (Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, King’s College London), and Simon Saunders (Professor of Philosophy of Physics, University of Oxford). It is chaired by Jonathan Birch, a Fellow in the The Forum and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at LSE.

The event was held in collaboration with Forum for European Philosophy. For more details or to download a podcast, visit the event webpage.

New! Symposia at the 2018 BSPS Meeting in Oxford

Submission is now open for proposals for symposia to be presented at the BSPS 2018 meeting in Oxford on July 4th-6th 2018. The deadline for submitting symposium proposals is January 5th, 2018.


A symposium should involve several presenters, typically 3-4, organised around a topic of interest. Symposia may be on any topic in the philosophy of science. A maximum of 90 minutes of space on the programme will be allocated to successful symposia. The symposia will be selected by the BSPS committee. The committee will strive for quality, variety, innovation, and diversity on the programme; ideally the programme will reflect the full range of current work in the philosophy of science. Symposia that make connections with, or include, working scientists are warmly invited. We will not be considering ‘Author Meets Critics’ sessions, but topical sessions that build upon recently published books are acceptable.


Proposals must include sufficient supporting material to permit the committee to evaluate the quality and interest of the symposium. Proposals for symposia should include:

  • The title of the proposed symposium
  • A short descriptive summary of the proposal (100-200 words)
  • A description of the topic and a justification of its current importance to the discipline (500-1000 words)
  • Titles and abstracts of all papers, with 250-500 words for the title and abstract of each paper
  • A list of participants and either an abbreviated curriculum vitae or short biographical description (not to exceed 1 page) for each participant, including any non-presenting co-authors.
  • Institutional affiliation and e-mail addresses for all participants, including any non-presenting co-authors.

Deadline and dates

The deadline for submitting symposium proposals is January 5th, 2018. Symposium organisers will be informed of the committee’s decision prior to the deadline for submitting contributed papers (February 5th, 2018). Please see important information below on BSPS policy regarding multiple submissions.


Proposals for symposia should be submitted via email as one pdf file to

Rules for Acceptance

No one will be permitted to present more than once at BSPS2018. Thus, if a symposium proposal in which you are a presenting author is accepted, you cannot submit a contributed paper for which you are the presenting author. Commentators that are part of symposia are considered to be presenting authors. A scholar may appear as co-author on more than one paper or symposium talk, but may present at BSPS2018 only once.

Any individual can be part of only one symposium proposal in which he or she is a presenting author. Note that this policy excludes the practice of being a presenting author for more than one symposium proposal and subsequently choosing to present in only one symposium if multiple proposals are accepted.

If an accepted symposium subsequently loses participants, maintaining acceptance will become contingent upon the symposium organiser developing satisfactory alternatives to maintain the quality and coherence of the committee.

All questions about submissions should be directed in the first instance to the assistant to the committee on

Registration Open for 2017 BSPS Conference in Edinburgh

Registration is now open for the BSPS conference in Edinburgh:


The Early Bird (discounted) registration deadline is 2 June 2017, and the final registration deadline is 30 June 2017. More information is available on the Conference Webpage. We look forward to seeing you there.

2016-2017 Upcoming Lectures

We are pleased to announce the new lecture series for 2016-2017 associated with the Ordinary Meetings of the BSPS. Lectures take place from 5:15-6:45pm in Room 2.06 of the Lakatos Building at LSE in central London. Each lecture is preceded by tea at 5pm. This year’s speakers are:

10 October 2016, Wendy Parker
“Scientific Modelling and Limits to the Value-Free Ideal”
More Information >>

21 November 2016, Luke Fenton-Glynn
More Information >>

16 January 2017, Marta Halina
“The role of values in animal cognition research”
More Information >>

13 March 2017, Karim Thébault
“Cosmic Singularity Resolution via Quantum Evolution”
More Information >>

12 June 2017, Heather Dyke
“Experience of Passage in a Static World”
More Information >>

We hope to see you there!

Cardiff Conference Registration

Conference registration is available for the 2016 BSPS annual conference, which will take place at Cardiff University. Members of the BSPS are invited to register and/or purchase inexpensive accommodation for the conference at the host university website.

BSPS doctoral scholarship open for applications

The British Society for the Philosophy of Science is offering a scholarship for doctoral work in the philosophy of science at a UK university, subject to a candidate of sufficient merit presenting themselves. The competition is open to both UK/EU and international students.

In order to be considered, applications must be received by the deadline of 7 March 2016.

Talk Cancellation

Unfortunately Liz Irvine’s talk, scheduled for Monday 18 January, has had to be cancelled.

2015 Popper Prize Winner: Matthew H. Slater

The decision of the Co-Editors of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science is that the Sir Karl Popper Prize for 2015 should be awarded to Matthew H. Slater for his article ‘Natural Kindness’, Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 66 (2015), 375–411. (Journal Article / PhilSci-Archive Preprint).

Dr. Matthew H. Slater How we understand natural kind phenomena is one of the central issues in the philosophy of science. It has been brought into particular focus within the so-called special sciences where traditional accounts of natural kinds typically run aground. Boyd’s ‘homeostatic property cluster’ approach is widely regarded as having broad applicability but in this paper, which casts new light on this issue, Slater argues that we should drop this approach’s reliance on causal homeostatic mechanisms and instead focus on the underlying cohesiveness in general that such mechanisms offer. This yields a more flexible account that, Slater suggests, can accommodate the diversity of kinds actually found in the world.

Here he articulates and defends his ‘stable property cluster’ account and, in particular, notes that under this conception, kinds are domain- and context- relative. This introduces, as he puts it, a ‘hefty dose’ of pragmatism but, Slater insists, his approach can still accommodate core realist intuitions. Nevertheless, ‘natural kindness’ should be thought of as a status conferred on pluralities of things, albeit one that is objective in a certain sense.

This is a work that builds on but goes beyond extant conceptions of natural kinds and opens up potentially fruitful new avenues of philosophical exploration, while also remaining grounded in scientific practice. Hence, we feel, Slater is a well-deserved winner of this year’s Popper Prize in the philosophy of science.

Steven French and Michela Massimi
Co-Editors-in-Chief, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science