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)


Recent Preprints

On the Universality of Hawking Radiation, with S. Gryb and P. Palacios. preprint

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


Journal Articles and Contributions

[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, (forthcoming). preprint

[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: doi.org/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), forthcoming. preprint

[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, in press. 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
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