Robert Batterman

Department of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1987

My research is primarily in philosophy of physics.  It focuses primarily upon the area of condensed matter broadly construed. My interests include the foundations of statistical physics, dynamical systems and chaos, asymptotic reasoning, mathematical idealizations, the philosophy of applied mathematics, explanation, reduction, and emergence.

Current research examines issues about autonomy of theories and models at different scales in both length and time. I'm focusing a lot on lessons to be learned from materials scientists and applied mathematicians; particularly, about how one determines macroscopic parameters for continuum theories using various upscaling and homogenization techniques related to the renormalization group.


Kathleen Creel

Graduate Student
4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh PA, 15260


Department of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh


  • B.A., Computer Science and Philosophy, Williams College
Most Cited Publications
  1. "The devil in the details: Asymptotic reasoning in explanation, reduction, and emergence," RW Batterman, Oxford University Press (2001)
  2. "On the explanatory role of mathematics in empirical science," RW BattermanBrit. J. Phil. Sci. 1 (2009)
  3. "Multiple realizability and universality," RW Batterman, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51, 115 (2000)
  4. "Minimal model explanations," Robert W Batterman and Collin C Rice.  Philosophy of Science 81.3 (2014)
  5. "Critical phenomena and breaking drops: Infinite idealizations in physics," Robert W. Batterman, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36, 225 (2005)
Recent Publications
  1. "Universality and RG explanations," Robert W BattermanPerspectives on Science 27.1 (2019)
  2. "Autonomy of theories: An explanatory problem," Robert W BattermanNous 52.4 (2018)
  3. "Biology meets physics: Reductionism and multi-scale modeling of morphogenesis," Sara Green, Robert BattermanStudies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 61, 20e34 (2017)
  4. "Philosophical Implications of Kadanoff’s Work on the Renormalization Group," Batterman, R.WJ Stat Phys, 1 (2017)
  5. "Autonomy of theories: An explanatory problem," RW Batterman, Nous (2017)

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