Alyssa Ney

Photo of Alyssa Ney

I am Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rochester. I came to the University of Rochester in 2005 after defending my dissertation at Brown University under the direction of Jaegwon Kim. Before that, I studied chemistry, physics, and philosophy at Tulane University.

My areas of research lie in the places where metaphysics intersects the philosophy of physics and the philosophy of mind. I am interested in the metaphysical foundations of quantum mechanics, the status of space-time and causality in fundamental theories, and more generally the prospects for a physical theory of everything. I am beginning work on a book on fundamentality, focusing on what we mean when we say a theory is a fundamental theory and whether there are good reasons for thinking a theory of this kind is achievable.

I teach courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in metaphysics, logic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

I also organize an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students who regularly meet to discuss topics of mutual interest to physicists and philosophers. We host talks about once a month during the academic year. Please send me an email if you would like to be added to our mailing list.


Cover of Metaphysics textbook

My metaphysics textbook was released in August by Routledge.

It contains chapters on ontology, time, causation, modality, social construction, free will, and the relation between metaphysics and science.

It is available for purchase from Amazon:
Metaphysics: An Introduction

Cover of Wave Function book The Wave Function is a collection of essays on the metaphysics of quantum mechanics I edited with David Albert.

It was released in 2013 by Oxford University Press and is also available at Amazon: The Wave Function: Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.

Reviews of The Wave Function:


This summer I will be taking up a new position as Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Davis.

The final speaker in our philosophy and physics series for the spring will be Evelyn Brister (Philosophy, RIT). Her talk will be held Monday, April 27 at 4pm, location TBA.

Forthcoming articles

My paper arguing that we do not have good reason to think that the content of our physical theories are purely "structural" or "relational" is now finished and forthcoming in Torin Alter and Yujin Nagasawa's new Oxford volume on Russellian Monism. The book is due out in the spring.

My paper "Fundamental Physical Ontologies and the Constraint of Empirical Coherence" is now forthcoming in Synthese.

A review of Steven French's recent book on structural realism is now out in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Upcoming Talks

"A Role for Grounding in the Philosophy of Mind," Conference on Composition and Grounding, Rutgers Newark, April 10-11

"Background Independence as a Constraint on Fundamental Theories," Southern Methodist University, April 24

Kinds and Quantities: Classifying and Measuring in the Sciences, University of Hong Kong, May 15-16

Metaphysics of Consciousness Symposium, Toward a Science of Consciousness, Helsinki, June 9-13

Centre for Time, University of Sydney, August 13

Causality in a Quantum World, Queensland, August 16-21

"Are the Questions of Metaphysics More Fundamental Than Those of Science?" Metaphysics of Science symposium, EPSA, September 23-26