Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Rivat, Sébastien

Dr. Sébastien Rivat

Postdoctoral Researcher


Mailing Address:
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 my PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University in 2020, where I also taught in the Core Curriculum. Before coming to Columbia, I completed a MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science and a Master’s degree in Theoretical Physics (Part III of the Mathematical Tripos) at the University of Cambridge, and I did my undergraduate studies at Ecole Centrale Paris.

I joined the MCMP in 2022 after spending two years (2020-2022) as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Research Interests

My main research focus is on the history and philosophy of physics. I explore how recent developments at the frontiers of physics, especially in the quantum realm, affect our understanding of why science works so well. I have looked primarily at the framework of effective theories up until now, moving more recently towards history to trace their origins and gain further conceptual insights. Along the way, I have been led to develop new projects in the foundations of physics (e.g., status of gauge symmetries, concept of open system). My other research interests include metaphysics and early modern philosophy.

Recent Publications

Rivat, S., 2021, "Drawing Scales Apart: The Origins of Wilson’s Conception of Effective Field Theories", Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 90, 321-338.

Rivat, S., 2021, "Effective Theories and Infinite Idealizations: A Challenge for Scientific Realism", Synthese, 198, 12107–12136.

Rivat, S., & Grinbaum A., 2020, "Philosophical Foundations of Effective Field Theories", The European Physical Journal A, 56, 90.

Rivat, S., 2019, "Renormalization Scrutinized", Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 68C, 23-39.