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UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies

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Friend, Toby

Biography

I am in the final year of my PhD researching the philosophy of laws of nature with a particular focus on the Humean tradition. My supervisors are Dr Illari and Dr Tobin at STS and Dr Fenton-Glynn at the Philosophy department. Previously to my PhD, i completed an MPhilStud in philosophy at Birkbeck under the supervision of Professor Hornsby and Dr Northcott and before that I was at UCL's philosophy department doing an MA. Despite currently philosophising full-time, my background is in product design engineering having previously completed my BEng jointly taught at Glasgow University and Glasgow School of Art.

In the advent term I will also be taking up the position of Teaching Fellow lecturing for the Philosophy of Science 1 module. 

My research is funded by the AHRC.

Research interests

The core of my current research is in philosophy of laws of nature. My thesis explores the Humean tradition's approach to laws, which is exemplified by a wariness for metaphysically otiose posits such as the infamous 'necessary connection'. I argue that despite substantial pressure from critiques of the Humean attitude to metaphysics and philosophy of science, there are good reasons to remain 'methodologically Humean' for the sake of developing an informative account of laws of nature. I will then propose a a significant modification of Humeanism's most plausible contemporary account of laws, the 'Best Systems Account', based on certain prominent critiques in the literature.

Publications

‘Laws are Conditionals’, in European Journal of Philosophy of Science, 6:123-144, 2016.

‘Consolidation of Philosophies of Science at London’s Graduate Workshop’, in Viewpoint, Issue 106, Feb. 2015, p.13.

‘Report on the First London Philosophy of Science Graduate Workshop’, in The Reasoner, Volume 8, Nov. 2014, pp.122-3.

‘Causality and Experimentation in the Sciences, 1-3 July’, in The Reasoner, Volume 7, Aug. 2013, p.96.