Karim P. Y. Thébault


I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bristol. I am also an external member of the  Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (LMU Munch).

My research is principally within the philosophy of physics, with a particular emphasis on time and symmetry in classical and quantum theories of gravity. I am also interested in various issues in general philosophy of science and the philosophy of the social sciences.

email: karim.thebault@bristol.ac.uk


Why Trust a Theory?


Collection of essays on the epistemology of fundamental physics edited with Radin Dardashti and Richard Dawid. (CUP, 2019), online access  print (DOI:10.1017/9781108671224)


Journal Articles and Contributions

[30] What can bouncing oil droplets tell us about quantum mechanics?, with P. Evans, European Journal for Philosophy of Science (forthcoming). preprint

[29] What science can do for democracy – A complexity science approach, with T. Eliassi-Rad, H. Farrell, D. Garcia, S.Lewandowsky, P. Palacios, D. Ross, D. Sornette and K. Wiesner,  Humanities & Social Sciences Communications 7(30) 2020. preprint published

[28] On the Limits of Experimental Knowledge, with P. Evans, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 378(2177) 2020. preprint published (DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2019.0235)

[27] On the Universality of Hawking Radiation, with S. Gryb and P. Palacios, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (forthcoming). preprint published (DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axz025)

[26] Hawking radiation and analogue experiments: a Bayesian analysis, with R. Dardashti, S. Hartmann, and E. Winsberg, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. 67:1-11, 2019. preprint published (DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsb.2019.04.004)

[25] Is there a Bayesian justification of hypothetico-deductive inference?, with S. Okasha, Noûs (online). preprint published (DOI: 10.1111/nous.12277)

[24] Bouncing unitary cosmology I. Mini-superspace general solution, with S. Gryb, Classical and Quantum Gravity  36(3), 2019.
preprint published (DOI: 10.1088/1361-6382/aaf823)

[23] Bouncing unitary cosmology II. Mini-superspace phenomenology, with S. Gryb, Classical and Quantum Gravity 36(3), 2019. preprint published (DOI: 10.1088/1361-6382/aaf837)
[22] Stability of democracies: a complex systems perspective, with K. Wiesner, A. Birdi, T. Eliassi-Rad, H. Farrell, D. Garcia, S.Lewandowsky, P. Palacios, D. Ross, D. Sornette, European Journal of Physics,  40 014002, 2018. published  (DOI: 10.1088/1361-6404/aaeb4d)

[21] On the Empirical Consequences of the AdS/CFT Duality, with R. Dardashti, R. Dawid, and S. Gryb, in Beyond Spacetime: The Philosophical Foundations of Quantum Gravity, Huggett, Le Bihan, Matsubara and Wüthrich (Eds.), (CUP), 2020. preprint published (DOI: 10.1017/9781108655705.016)

[20] Superpositions of the cosmological constant allow for singularity resolution and unitary evolution in quantum cosmology, with S. Gryb, Physics Letters B, 784: 324-329, 2018. preprint published (DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2018.08.013)

[19] The Problem of Time, in Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics, Knox and Wilson (Eds.), (Routledge), forthcoming. preprint

[18] What can we learn from analogue experiments?, in Why Trust a Theory?, Dardashti, Dawid and Thébault (Eds.), (CUP), 2019. preprint published (DOI: 10.1017/9781108671224.014)

[17] Models on the move: migration and imperialism, with S. Bradley,Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 77: 81-92, 2019. preprint published (DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2017.11.008)

[16] Modelling inequality, with S. Bradley and A. Reutlinger, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 69(3): 691–718, 2018. preprint published (DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axw028)

[15] Confirmation via analogue simulation: what dumb holes could tell us about gravity, with R. Dardashti and E. Winsberg, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 68(1):55-89, 2017. preprint published (DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axv010)

Ψ-Epistemic Quantum Cosmology?, with P. Evans and S. Gryb Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 56, 2016. preprint published (DOI:10.1016/j.shpsb.2016.10.005)

[13] Regarding the `hole argument' and the `problem of time', with S. Gryb, Philosophy of Science, 83(4): 563-584, 2016. preprint published (DOI: 10.1086/687262)

[12] Time remains, with S. Gryb, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science,  67(3):663-705,2016. preprint published (DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axv009)

[11] Schrödinger evolution for the universe: reparametrization, with S. Gryb, Classical and Quantum Gravity, 33 (6), 2016. preprint published (DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/33/6/065004)

[10] Quantization as a guide to ontic structure, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 67(1): 89-114, 2016. preprint published (DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axu023)

[9] Dispositions and the principle of least action revisited, [with B. Smart]
Analysis,  75(3):386-395, 2015. preprint published (DOI: 10.1093/analys/anv050)

[8] Many worlds: incoherent or decoherent?, with R. Dawid, Synthese, 192(5): 1559-1580, 2015,
preprint published (DOI:10.1007/s11229-014-0650-8)
[7] Against the empirical viability of the Deutsch-Wallace-Everett approach to quantum mechanics, with R. Dawid, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 47, 2014. preprint published (DOI:10.1016/j.shpsb.2014.05.005)

[6] Unsharp humean chances in statistical physics: a reply to Beisbart, with L. Glynn, R. Dardashti, and M. Frisch, In New Directions in the Philosophy of Science (Springer), Volume 5, pp 531-542, 2014. preprint published (DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-04382-1_37)

[5] Symmetry and evolution in quantum gravity, with S. Gryb, Foundations of Physics, 44(3): 305–348, 2014. preprint published (DOI:10.1007/s10701-014-9789-x)

[4] Three denials of time in the interpretation of canonical gravity,  Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 43(4):277-294, 2012. preprint published (DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.03.031)

[3] The role of time in relational quantum theories, with S. Gryb, Foundations of Physics, 42(9):1210-1238, 2012. preprint published (DOI:10.1007/s10701-012-9665-5)

[2] Symplectic reduction and the problem of time in nonrelativistic mechanics, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 63(4):789-824, 2012. preprint published (DOI: 10.1093/bjps/AXR045)

[1] Symmetry, reduction and quantisation ; how should we interpret quantum Hamiltonian constraints? Symmetry, 3(2):134-154, 2011. open access (DOI:10.3390/sym3020134)


Book reviews

[2] The disunity of philosophy of science as a worrying hypothesis, Review of ‘Physical Theory: Method and Interpretation’ edited by Lawrence Sklar International Studies in Philosophy of Science, (forthcoming), preprint

[1] Review of `Geometric Possibility' by Gordon Belot, Philosophy in Review, 32(2), 2012
open access


Old Preprints

Analogue quantum simulation: a philosophical prospectus, with D. Hangleiter and J. Carolan. preprint  

On the metaphysics of least action, with B. Smart. preprint



Symmetry, ontology and the problem of time: on the interpretation and quantisation of Canonical Gravity. Final Version


Other Interests

I am currently working on a history and philosophy of science project on the development of the classifications of stars and supernovae with  Ana-Maria Crețu