Team members

Prof Helen Beebee (Principal investigator)

Professor Helen Beebee has spent most of her career working on Lewisian themes. She has published papers defending the Ramsey-Lewis account of laws and the counterfactual analysis of causation, criticising Lewis’s views on causation by absence and freedom of the will, and defending the Humean view that necessary connections are unintelligible. She has also published on the history of philosophy, with a monograph, several articles and book chapters on Hume’s theory of causation—an area that directly relates to Lewis’s own brand of Humeanism—and, with MacBride, a book chapter that uncovers the origins of Lewis’s counterpart theory in Quine and explores the nature of Lewis’s Humean approach to metaphysics. An internationally recognised expert on causation, free will, and Lewis’s systematic philosophy generally, she is exceptionally well suited to lead this project.


Prof Fraser MacBride (Co-investigator)

Professor Fraser MacBride is an internationally recognised authority on the metaphysics of properties and has published extensively on Lewis and Armstrong, including four papers examining and developing Lewis’s views on truth-making, one scrutinising his views on change, a joint paper with Beebee on counterparts, and one with Janssen-Lauret on modality and empiricism that develops themes from Quine and Lewis. Lewis’ views are often touchstones in many of MacBride’s two-dozen papers on universals. He has published extensively on the history of analytic philosophy, including a forthcoming monograph on the metaphysics of the early analytic philosophers, addressing Moore, Russell, and Ramsey. Lewis influentially changed his mind about classes and mathematical structures and the metaphysics of properties. This makes MacBride’s expertise in the philosophy of mathematics especially relevant, where he has published widely on mathematical structuralism and neo-Fregeanism. So in combination with his deep knowledge as a historian of early analytic philosophy, MacBride complements Beebee’s expertise perfectly, making him an ideal co-investigator.


Dr Anthony Fisher (Postdoctoral researcher)

Dr Anthony Fisher received his PhD in philosophy from Syracuse University in 2012. His research expertise is in contemporary metaphysics and the history of twentieth century philosophy in the analytic tradition. He was the Bader Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy at Queen’s University, Canada. And before that a Newton International Fellow at the University of Manchester, working on early twentieth-century metaphysics, especially the metaphysics of Samuel Alexander in its historical context. He has published several papers in contemporary metaphysics, including parts and wholes, truthmaking and fundamentality, Lewis’s metaphysical method and Lewis’ connection with D.C. Williams. He is also editing a collection of D.C. Williams’ published and unpublished papers in metaphysics. He is well suited to carrying out this project because of his work exploring and developing Lewisian themes, e.g. truthmaking, structural universals, and modality, and his work on the metaphysical roots of analytic philosophy. He brings to the project complementary knowledge of contemporary metaphysics, especially its Lewis-inspired methodology, and his scholarly expertise on Lewis’ teachers such as D.C. Williams. He has also undertaken a preliminary study of the David Lewis Papers and already has extensive working knowledge of its contents.


Dr Frederique Janssen-Lauret (Postdoctoral researcher)

Dr Frederique Janssen-Lauret received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews in 2014. Her thesis was an epistemological and logico-linguistic critique of Quine’s meta-ontology. She was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Nottingham and held a Capes Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Campinas, working on philosophy of logic and the history of philosophy, especially the historical Quine. She has published several papers developing Quine-inspired perspectives on ontology, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science, including a joint paper with MacBride on modality and epistemology, a twenty-page paper on epistemology and direct reference in connection with Quinean meta-ontology, and a paper on naturalism, meta-ontology, and logical form in Quine and Barcan Marcus. She has edited a volume of historical papers including posthumous material by Quine, and is working on editing and co-translating Quine’s 1940s Portuguese-language work, hitherto unavailable in English. She brings to this project essential expertise as a Quine scholar, which complements the rest with her knowledge of the philosophy of logic and language and epistemology.