Dr William Simpson

Dr William M R Simpson

MPhys MPhil PhD PhD

  • Position Junior Research Fellow
  • Subject areas Philosophy Theology, Religion & Philosophy of Religion
  • Personal website Academia.edu
  • Email wmrs2@cam.ac.uk

William is a philosopher with interests in the Metaphysics of Science, Philosophy of Physics, and the Theology of Nature. He was formerly a researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and holds a doctorate in physics from the University of St Andrews.

Dr William Simpson

William’s academic interests span philosophy, physics and theology. He pursued a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Cambridge (2016-2019), supported by a full doctoral scholarship at Peterhouse College, and wrote a thesis on the metaphysics of science entitled, What's the matter? Toward a neo-Aristotelian ontology of nature. He obtained an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge in 2016. Prior to his ‘conversion’ to analytic philosophy at Cambridge, he obtained a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of St Andrews in 2014, supported by a full doctoral studentship from the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA), and wrote a thesis entitled, Surprises in Theoretical Casimir Physics, for which he was awarded the Springer Thesis Prize. He obtained a first class MPhys undergraduate degree in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics from the University of St Andrews in 2010.

He is currently a Research Fellow in the international research, God and the book of nature, and a Research Associate of The Mereology of Potentiality project (Oxford/Durham). He is also a Research Associate of the Divinity Faculty at the University of Cambridge, and an associate member of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. He was previously a visiting scientist and postdoctoral research fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (2010-2012). He is a member of the American Philosophical Association (APA) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR).

Research Interests

William has wide-ranging research interests in metaphysics, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of physics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of religion. He is currently working on constructing ‘powers ontologies’ for different interpretations of quantum mechanics, and on the metaphysics of emergence in complex physical systems. More generally, he is interested in exploring the various ways in which ‘neo-Aristotelian’ metaphysics, which deploys philosophical concepts like ‘causal powers’ and ‘metaphysical grounding’, may transform the landscape of discussion in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of religion (for example: concerning the relationship between laws of nature and human agency).

William has published research papers in philosophy, physics and (analytic) theology. He has also co-edited a volume on metaphysics and the philosophy of science, called Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science (Routledge 2017); co-edited and co-authored a physics textbook on quantum fluctuation forces, called Forces of the Quantum Vacuum (World Scientific 2015); and authored a monograph on the quantum Casimir Effect, called Surprises in Theoretical Casimir Physics (Springer 2014), which was awarded the Springer thesis prize.