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I am a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Southampton, UK. I work primarily on metaphysics, but I also have interests in philosophy of language, epistemology, and philosophy of science.

Before coming to Southampton I spent a brief period at the University of Leeds, and held the position of Kit-Fine Fellow (postdoctoral researcher) at Universität Hamburg in Germany. I did my PhD at the University of Birmingham, under the supervision of Alastair Wilson.

Thanks to a generous grant from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond,  I spent much of my time from 2017-2020 working on the project Metaphysical Explanation based at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

At the moment I’m thinking about mostly metametaphysics and reality’s structure. In particular, I’m interested in questions about the epistemology of metaphysical structure, and I’m particularly interested in the notion of metaphysical explanation, and its relation to other (more familiar) notions of explanation. Relatedly, I’m trying to work out irrealist approaches to grounding and fundamentality which tread a path between familiar realist positions, and eliminativist approaches.

I am currently working on my first monograph: Structuring Reality, which is under contract with OUP. In it I develop and defend a less-than-fully-realist account of reality’s structure.

I’m also interested in applications of debates about metaphysical structure, for example in the philosophy of mind, and in the sciences. I’m currently thinking about how the notion of metaphysical explanation might need to be adapted in order to accommodate the kind of structural explanations we find in the social realm, and about what that might tell us about social reality as well as about metaphysical reality generally.

I have further interests in the philosophy of fiction, particularly where it intersects with metaphysics. For example, in the metaphysics of fictional characters, and the ontology of games.

You can find details of my publications and work in progress, and of recent and upcoming talks from the link on the right.

Here is a very short video of me saying some things about metaphysics. You can see a short interview here, and if watching online lectures is your thing, here is a public lecture I gave at the Royal Institute of Philosophy on fictionalism about grounding.

Contactn.m.thompson@soton.ac.uk