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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Matthew Tugby

Associate Professor/Deputy for BoS/Director of MLM Research Cluster in the Department of Philosophy
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 46576

Contact Dr Matthew Tugby (email at

Administrative Roles

Deputy to the Board of Studies

Office Hours

10.00-13.00 on Tuesdays (term time only; please email in advance to arrange an online meeting)

Research Interests

My core philosophical interests lie in the metaphysics of science and I publish mainly on the topics of dispositions, laws, causation and the problem of universals. I believe that properties are metaphysically fundamental and that they can help to explain many other metaphysical phenomena such as causation, chance, dispositions, laws, modality, and natural kinds. I am a Platonic realist about properties and my current work focuses on how arguments from science might motivate a Platonic metaphysics.

I am a former winner of the Mind Association Research Fellowship. I am currently finalising work on a monograph called 'Putting Properties First', which is under contract with Oxford University Press.

Research Groups

Department of Philosophy

Research Interests

  • Metaphysics (especially the topics of essence, identity and individuation, modality, ontological dependence, properties and substance)
  • Metaphysics of Science (especially the topics of causation, chance, dispositions, laws and natural kinds)


Edited book

  • Mumford, Stephen & Tugby, Matthew (2013). Metaphysics and Science. Mind Association Occasional Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chapter in book

  • Alvarado, José Tomás & Tugby, Matthew (2021). A Problem for Natural-Kind Essentialism and Formal Causes. In Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Jansen, Ludger & Sandstad, Petter Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge. 201-221.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2020). Atoms as Universals. In Atomism in Philosophy: A History from Antiquity to the Present. Zilioli, Ugo London: Bloomsbury Academic. 387-399.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2020). Organic Powers. In Dispositionalism: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science. Meincke, Anne Sophie Cham: Springer. 417: 213-238.
  • Hamilton, Andy, Macarthur, David, Squires, Roger, Tugby, Matthew & Wiseman, Rachael (2019). Dialogue on Rhythm: Entrainment and the Dynamic Thesis. In The Philosophy of Rhythm: Aesthetics, Music, Poetics. Cheyne, Peter, Hamilton, Andy & Paddison, Max New York: Oxford University Press. 15-42.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2016). Mirage Realism Revisited. In Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong. Calemi, Francesco, F. Berlin: De Gruyter. 9: 13-30.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2016). What Are Dispositional Properties? In Reality Making. Jago, Mark Oxford: Oxford University Press. 75-98.
  • Mumford, Stephen & Tugby, Matthew (2013). What Is the Metaphysics of Science? In Metaphysics and Science. Mumford, Stephen & Tugby, Matthew Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3-28.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2012). The Metaphysics of Pan-dispositionalism. In Properties, Powers and Structures: Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism. Bird, Alexander, Ellis, Brian & Sankey, Howard Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 165-179.

Journal Article

  • Tugby, M (2021). Abduction and the Scientific Realist Case for Properties. Grazer Philosophische Studien 98(1): 123-145.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2020). Grounding theories of powers. Synthese
  • Giannini, Giacomo & Tugby, Matthew (2020). Potentiality: actualism minus naturalism equals platonism. Philosophical Inquiries 8(1): 117-140.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2018). Modal Platonism and the Problem of Negativity. Erkenntnis 83(3): 465-476.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2017). Power Worlds and the Problem of Individuation. American Philosophical Quarterly 54(3): 269-281.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2017). The Problem of Retention. Synthese 194(6): 2053-2075.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2016). On the Reality of Intrinsically Finkable Dispositions. Philosophia 44(2): 623-631.
  • Tugby, M. (2016). Universals, Laws, and Governance. Philosophical Studies 173(5): 1147-1163.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2015). The Alien Paradox. Analysis 75(1): 28-37.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2014). Categoricalism, Dispositionalism, and the Epistemology of Properties. Synthese 191(6): 1147-1162.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2013). Causal Nominalism and the One Over Many Problem. Analysis 73(3): 455-462.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2013). Graph-theoretic Models of Dispositional Structures. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27(1): 23-39.
  • Tugby, M. (2013). Nomic Necessity for Platonists. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2(4): 324-331.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2013). Platonic Dispositionalism. Mind 122(486): 451-480.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2012). Rescuing Dispositionalism from the Ultimate Problem: Reply to Barker and Smart. Analysis 72(4): 723-731.
  • Tugby, Matthew (2010). Simultaneity in Dispositional Interaction? Ratio 23(3): 322-338.

Selected Grants

  • 2015: Scientific Platonism: A Study in the Metaphysics of Science (£19347.64 from MIND)