Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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D'Alessandro, William

Dr. William D'Alessandro

Postdoctoral Fellow


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Fakultät für Philosophie, Wissenschaftstheorie
und Religionswissenschaft
Lehrstuhl für Wissenschaftstheorie
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
80539 München

Ludwigstr. 31
Room 124
80539 München

Further Information

I received a PhD in philosophy (2017) and an MS in mathematics (2019) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. My dissertation was a set of three papers on various facets of explanation in math, while my MS thesis studied a disagreement among mathematicians about the best proof of the quadratic reciprocity theorem. Before coming to the MCMP, I was a Lecturer and Instructor at UIC, where I taught a wide variety of philosophy and logic courses. I grew up in rural western New York and studied philosophy at Canisius College, a small Jesuit liberal arts school in Buffalo. You can see some photography of mine on Cargo or Instagram.

Research interests

I think of pure math as a special science, and so I think it’s not only appropriate but essential to use the history and practice of mathematics as resources for understanding science as a whole. Much of my work has tried to do this. I’ve written from a mathematical viewpoint about intertheoretic reduction, models, understanding, the ontic conception of explanation and other explanation-related themes. In math, my tastes run to the discrete rather than the continuous (i.e. things like algebra, number theory, graph theory and logic). I also have interests in metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics and applied ethics.


  • “Proving Quadratic Reciprocity: Explanation, Disagreement, Transparency and Depth”. Synthese, 2020 (DOI: 0.1007/s11229-020-02591-6).
  • “Viewing-as Explanations and Ontic Dependence”. Philosophical Studies, 2020, 177: 769-792.
  • “Explanation in Mathematics: Proofs and Practice”. Philosophy Compass, 2019 (DOI: 10.1111/phc3.12629), with companion Teaching and Learning Guide (DOI: 10.1111/phc3.12630).
  • “Arithmetic, Set Theory, Reduction and Explanation”. Synthese, 2018, 195: 5059-5089.
  • “Mathematical Explanation Beyond Explanatory Proof”. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 2017 (DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axy009).
  • “Explicitism about Truth in Fiction". British Journal of Aesthetics, 2015, 56: 53-65.


  • The APA’s 2019 Routledge, Taylor and Francis Prize for “Viewing-as Explanations and Ontic Dependence”, given to the year’s two best published articles by philosophers in limited-term jobs
  • The APA’s 2016 Sanders Graduate Student Award for “Grounding, Dependence and Mathematical Explanation”, given to “each of the three best papers in mind, metaphysics, epistemology or ethics submitted for the annual APA Eastern Division meeting by graduate students”
  • Second prize in the 2014 British Society of Aesthetics Essay Contest, for “Explicitism about Truth in Fiction”
  • Several UIC teaching awards, including recognition for undergraduate mentoring; I was chosen as UIC’s sole nominee for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award