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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry


William Simpson is a Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Research Associate at Von Hügel Institute, St Edmund's College, Cambridge. He is also a Visiting Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Durham.

He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Cambridge (2020) and a doctorate in physics from the University of St Andrews (2014). His research lies at the intersection of philosophy, theology and physics.

For more information, including an up-to-date list of publications, visit Dr Simpson’s Academia page or his personal website.


The natural philosophy of the 17th century conceived the world in terms of tiny corpuscules which are governed by arbitrary and universal laws. In so doing, it divided the mind from the natural world and disenchanted nature. Simpson wants to see if the New Aristotelianism, which conceives the world in terms of substances that have causal powers, can put everything back together. His research is therefore concerned with the philosophy of nature, broadly conceived: he thinks about the unity of the natural world, the unity of mind and nature, and the unity of nature and divine being.


Key publications: 



  • Hylomorphism, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2023
  • Surprises in Theoretical Casimir Physics: Quantum Forces in Inhomogeneous Media, Springer, 2014

Edited Collections

  • Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Theology of Nature, Routledge, 2021,co-edited with R.C. Koons and J. Orr
  • Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science, Routledge, 2017,
    co-edited with R.C. Koons and N. Teh
  • Forces of the Quantum Vacuum: an introduction to Casimir Physics, World Scientific, 2015, co-edited with U. Leonhardt

Select Papers in Philosophy

  • “Small Worlds with Cosmic Powers”, The Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming in 2023,
  • “The Myth of the Physical Given”, Revue philosophique de Louvain, 119(1), 151-164.
  • “What’s the matter with Super-Humeanism?”
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 72, 2, 2021, 893-911: DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axz028
  • "Toppling the pyramids: physics without physical state monism" [with S.Horsley], in Time, Laws and Free Will, Springer, 2021: DOI:  10.1007/978-3-030-92486-7_2
  • "From Quantum Physics to Classical Metaphysics", in Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Theology of Nature, Routledge, 2021, DOI: 10.4324/9781003125860-3
  • "Cosmic Hylomorphism: a powerist ontology of quantum mechanics", European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 2021, DOI: 10.1007/s13194-020-00342-5
  • “Half-baked Humeanism”, in Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science, Routledge, 2017. DOI: 10.4324/9781315211626-7
  • “Knowing nature: beyond reduction and emergence” in Knowing Creation, Eds. A. Torrance, T. McCall, Zondervan, 2017, 237-260
  • “Ontological aspects of the Casimir Effect”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsb.2014.08.001
Research Associate
Honorary Research Fellow, University of St Andrews

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