Esfeld Michaël-Andreas

Esfeld Michaël-Andreas

Coordonnées Curriculum Recherches Enseignements Publications

Axes de recherche

PhD Students
Tiziano Ferrando, Structure and ontology, since February 2015.

Davide Romano, A classical world from an undivided universe: a metaphysical inquiry into the classical limit of Bohmian mechanics, since December 2013.

Andrea Oldofredi, Primitive ontology and quantum field theory, since November 2013, co-direction with Nino Zanghì (Genova).

Mario Hubert, Particles and laws in classical and quantum physics, since January 2013.

Laurent Cordonier, Une socionomie est-elle possible?, co-direction with Laurence Kaufmann (SSP-UNIL) since Avril 2010.

Pietro Snider, Causation and the self-constitution of the conscious mind, Thesis defended 26 October 2015, co-direction with Markus Wild.

Marion Hämmerli, Parts, places, and perspectives: A theory of spatial relations based on mereotopology and convexity, Thesis defended 3 July 2014, co-direction with Achille Varzi (Columbia University, New York); Prix de la Faculté des lettres.

Tim Räz, On the applicability of mathematics-philosophical and historical perspectives, Thesis defended 2 December 2013.

Antonio Vassallo, The metaphysics of quantum gravity: a causal approach, Thesis defended 22 July 2013.

Matthias Egg, Causal explanations and unobservable entities in particle physics, Thesis defended 12 October 2012.

Michael Sollberger, The structural nature of perception, Thesis defended 12 November 2010.

Patrice Soom, From psychology to neuroscience. A new reductive account, Thesis defended 15 October 2010.

Georg Sparber, Unorthodox Humeanism, Thesis defended 3 December 2008.

Vincent Lam, Space-time within general relativity: a stuctural realist understanding, Thesis defended 30 November 2007; Prix de la Faculté des lettres.

Jens Harbecke, Mental causation. Investigating the mind's powers in a natural world, Thesis defended 4 September 2007.

Christian Sachse, Reductionism in the philosophy of science, Thesis defended 13 February 2007; Prix de la Société académique vaudoise 2007.

The Metaphysics of Physics - Natural Philosophy
My collaborators and I pursue a methodology of philosophy of nature that considers physics and metaphysics as constituting a seamless whole - in contrast to both a neo-positivist metaphysics that seeks to read metaphysical consequences directly off from the formalisms of physical theories and a neo-rationalist a priori metaphysics based on conceptual analysis. In this spirit, we seek to formulate a minimalist fundamental ontology of the natural world that combines atomism with relationalism about space-time and ontic structural realism: there are particles in the guise of matter points, but all there is to them are the distance relations among them, with these distance relations individuating the matter points. All change is change of these distance relations. We set out to show that this fundamental ontology covers the whole of physics, from Newtonian mechanics to quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, arguing for the Bohmian approach in the quantum domain, because it constitutes the best solution to the quantum measurement problem. What changes in the transition from classical to quantum physics is not the fundamental ontology, but the dynamical structure, that is, the parameters and equations employed to represent the change in the distance relations in a manner that is both as simple and as informative as possible.

This research is done in cooperation with Dirk-André Deckert (mathematical physics, LMU Munich), inserted into the Bohmian mechanics research network and supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Cogito Foundation.



Projets FNS

The Metaphysics of Physics: Natural Philosophy
2013 - 2016  (36  mois)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Antonio Vassallo (Postdoc), Andrea Oldofredi (PhD student), Davide Romano (PhD student)

Structural realism as a philosophy of nature
2009 - 2013  (52  mois)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Vincent Lam (Postdoc, until March 2010) and Tim Raez (PhD student, from March 2010 to Sept. 2013)

Direct realism and the threat from perceptual delusions
2008 - 2011  (35  mois)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Michael Sollberger (PhD student)
PhD thesis defended 12 November 2010

Mental causation, functionalism and the metaphysics of causation
2007 - 2010  (35  mois)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Patrice Soom (PhD student)
Project within the ProDoc "Mind, normativity, self and properties"
PhD thesis defended 15 October 2010

Mental causation and reductionism
2004 - 2007  (35  mois)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Jens Harbecke (PhD student), Christian Sachse (PhD student)
PhD theses defended 13 February and 4 September 2007

Causal properties and laws in the philosophy of science
2000 - 2005  (59  mois)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Pietro Snider (PhD student, from Oct. 2010 to June 2012), Jakob Sprickerhof (PhD student, from March 2011 to Sept. 2012), Mario Hubert (PhD student from Jan. 2013 to Sept. 2015)
Project within the ProDoc "Mind and reality"

Autres projets

The fundamental ontology of the natural world
2015 - 2017  (31  mois)
Organisme subventionnaire: The Cogito Foundation  (Suisse)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Dustin Lazarovici (Postdoc)

The quantum state as the memory of a quantum system
2014 - 2014  (12  mois)
Organisme subventionnaire: Programme Collaborative Research on Science and Society (CROSS) EPFL-UNIL  (Suisse)
Requérant·e: Michaël-Andreas Esfeld
Autres collaborateurs-trices: Vincenzo Savona (EPFL), Antonio Vassallo (Postdoc)


Evénements et manifestations


Cycle de conférences sur l'esprit et le cerveau
Contact :


Symposium avec Jeagwon Kim
Organisé par Michael Esfeld (po) en juin 2005


Anthropole - CH-1015 Lausanne
Tél. +41 21 692 28 92
Fax +41 21 692 29 35