Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Dougherty, John

Dr. John Dougherty

Postdoctoral Fellow


Mailing Address:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Fakultät für Philosophie, Wissenschaftstheorie
und Religionswissenschaft
Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
D-80539 München

Ludwigstr. 31
Room 131
D-80539 München



Further Information

I received my PhD in philosophy from the University of California San Diego in 2018, where my doctoral research focused on the concepts of symmetry and identity in physics. During my graduate studies I was a visiting fellow at the University of Illinois Chicago with the Beyond Spacetime project. Before that, I received BAs in Physics and the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine from the University of Chicago. I joined the MCMP in 2018.

Research Interests

I'm interested in the relationship between mathematics and the physical world: how we can and do use math to describe, predict, and explain physical happenings, and how we can do it better. I think the best way to understand this relationship is to look at applications of mathematics in science, and I think some of the most successful applications ever have been in quantum field theory, our current best theory of high-energy particle physics. I argue that these applications interact with traditional philosophical questions about representation, interpretation, and logic. Along the way I also end up having things to say about the philosophical foundations of quantum gravity (black hole thermodynamics in particular), questions about space and time, topics in the metaphysics of science, and issues in the history of philosophy of science, logic, and mathematics.

Recent Publications

  • Dougherty, J. (forthcoming). The substantial role of Weyl symmetry in deriving general relativity from string theory. Philosophy of Science
  • Dougherty, J. and Callender, C. (forthcoming). Black hole thermodynamics: More than an analogy? In Guide to the Philosophy of Cosmology, ed. A. Ijjas and B. Loewer. Oxford University Press.
  • Dougherty, J. (2021). I ain’t afraid of no ghost. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 88:70–84
  • Dougherty, J. (2021). The non-ideal theory of the Aharonov–Bohm effect. Synthese, 198(12):12195–12221
  • Dougherty, J. (2020). The hole argument, take n. Foundations of Physics, 50(4):330–347
  • Dougherty, J. (2020). Large gauge transformations and the strong CP problem. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 69:50–66
  • Dougherty, J. (2018). What inductive explanations could not be. Synthese, 195(12):5473–5483
  • Dougherty, J. (2017). Sameness and separability in gauge theories. Philosophy of Science, 84(5):1189–1201