About Me 

I am an associate professor of philosophy at New York University. I received my PhD in Philosophy (Columbia 2008) and BS in Biological Sciences (Stanford 2000). I am interested in problems in the philosophy of biology, the general philosophy of science, and metaphysics.

My work has focused on three families of questions:

1) why we ‘carve up’ or classify the world into the kinds and individuals that we do, and whether it is possible to maintain that some carvings are objectively correct, and others not; if so, on what basis?       [For more, see Natural Kinds]

2) the nature of scientific explanation and understanding, and particularly how explanations in biology are similar to or different from those in circulation in other sciences;    [For more, see Scientific Explanation]

3) how it is that, given that our universe is ultimately a physical one, we are able to get such an effective grip on its workings--for instance, formulating predictively successful theories about it--even when we are describing and conceptualizing it in non-physical terms, in doing so omitting many details that may appear crucial from a physical point-of-view.   [For more, see High-Level Sciences in a Physical World]

This research statement offers a summary of my philosophical work.

Draft Paper

Selected Published and Forthcoming Papers

8. The Casual Economy Account of Scientific Explanation 

                                  (forthcoming in Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, eds. Waters and Woodward)

7. New Mechanistic Explanation the Need for Explanatory Constraints 

                                  (2016 Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground, eds. Aizawa and Gillett, p. 41-74, Book Link)

6. High-Level Explanation and the Interventionist’s ‘Variables Problem 

                                  (2016 BJPS, 67: 553-577, Journal Link)

5. Explaining Causal Selection with Explanatory Causal Economy: Biology and Beyond 

                                  (2015 Explanation in Biology, eds. Malaterre and Braillard, p. 413-438,  Book Link)

4. Natural Kinds as Categorical Bottlenecks 

                                  (2015 Philosophical Studies, 172: 925-948,  Journal Link)

3. Trashing Life's Tree 

                                  (2010 Biology & Philosophy 25: 689-709, Jounal Link)

2. Bacteria Sex and Systematics 

                                 (2007 Philosophy of Science 74: 69-95, JSTOR Link)

1. Exploratory Experiments 

                                 (2005 Philosophy of Science 72: 888-899, JSTOR Link


Laura Franklin-Hall

Department of Philosophy, NYU

5 Washington Place

Manhattan, NY 10003

phone: 212-998-8330

fax: 212-995-4179