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Robert Batterman

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

Robert "Bob" Batterman received his B.A. at Cornell University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh, he held the Rotman Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Science at the University of Western Ontario (2005--2010). Before that he spent 15 years in the Department of Philosophy at Ohio State University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author of The Devil in the Details: Asymptotic Reasoning in Explanation, Reduction, and Emergence (Oxford, 2002) as well as several other books.


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.


Title Position Email
Kathleen Creel Graduate Student
Most Cited Publications

"The devil in the details: Asymptotic reasoning in explanation, reduction, and emergence," Robert W Batterman. Oxford University Press (2001)
"Multiple realizability and universality," Robert W Batterman. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 51, 115-145 (2000)
"On the explanatory role of mathematics in empirical science," Robert W Batterman. The British journal for the philosophy of science, 61, 1-25 (2010)
"Minimal model explanations," Robert W Batterman, Collin C Rice. Philosophy of Science, 81, 349-376 (2014)
"Critical phenomena and breaking drops: Infinite idealizations in physics," Robert W Batterman. Studies in history and philosophy of modern physics, 36, 225-244 (2005)

Recent Publications

"Universality and RG Explanations," Robert W Batterman. Perspectives on Science, 27, 26-47 (2019)
"Autonomy of theories: An explanatory problem," Robert W Batterman. Noûs, 52, 858-873 (2018)
"Philosophical implications of Kadanoff’s work on the renormalization group," Robert W Batterman. Journal of Statistical Physics, 167, 559-574 (2017)
"Biology meets physics: Reductionism and multi-scale modeling of morphogenesis," Sara Green, Robert Batterman. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 61, Pergamon (2017)
"Biomedical Sciences," Sara Green, Robert Batterman. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 61 (2017)