Professor of Philosophy


Research Group: Φ-Geo

CPHS Website:
Areas of Interest: Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of Geosciences (Earth Sciences); Philosophy of Physics; Science, Technology & Values; History of Science

Alisa Bokulich received her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame’s Program in History & Philosophy of Science. She is the director of the Center for Philosophy & History of Science at BU (since 2010), where she also organizes the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science. Professor Bokulich is also an Associate Member of Harvard University’s History of Science Department and was a 2021-22 Harvard Radcliffe Fellow.

Bokulich’s research is primarily focused on scientific modeling, data, and explanation in the physical sciences, especially (more recently) the Earth sciences (geosciences).  She is currently writing a new monograph on the philosophy of the geosciences, which draws on conceptual and methodological issues in geomorphology, stratigraphy, paleontology, and geochronology, with chapters on issues related to models, data, uncertainty, typification, and the philosophy of geologic time.

Professor Bokulich’s teaching at Boston University includes courses in the philosophy of science; philosophy of Earth sciences; philosophy of physics; gender, race and science; and science, technology, and values.



Reexamining the Quantum-Classical Relation: Beyond Reductionism and Pluralism (Cambridge University Press, 2008). CUP;

Philosophy of Quantum Information and Entanglement, co-edited with Gregg Jaeger (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Scientific Structuralism (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science), co-edited with Peter Bokulich (Springer, 2010).

Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions – 50 Years On (Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science), co-edited with William Devlin, (Springer 2015).


Bocchi, Federica, Alisa Bokulich, Leticia Castillo Brache, Gloria Grand-Pierre, Aja Watkins (forthcoming) “Are We in a Sixth Mass Extinction? The Challenges of Answering and Value of Asking” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

Bokulich, Alisa and Federica Bocchi (forthcoming) “Kuhn’s ‘5th Law of Thermodynamics’: Measurement, Data, and Anomalies” in Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions at 60, ed. by K. Brad Wray. Cambridge University Press

Bokulich, Alisa & Aja Watkins (2022) “Data Models“. In James Mattingly (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Bokulich, A. (2021) “Taming the Tyranny of Scales: Models & Scale in the Geosciences” Synthese 199, 14167–14199 (2021).

Bokulich, A. and W. Parker (2021), “Data Models, Representation, & Adequacy for Purpose” European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11: 31, pp. 1-26.

(2020), “Understanding Scientific Types: Holotypes, Stratotypes, & Measurement Prototypes” Biology & Philosophy 35: 54.

(2020) “Towards a Taxonomy of the Model-Ladenness of Data” Philosophy of Science 87 (5): 793-806.

(2020) “Calibration, Coherence, and Consilience in Radiometric Measures of Geologic Time” Philosophy of Science 87(3): 425–456.

(2020) “Losing Sight of the Forest for the Ψ: Beyond the Wavefunction Hegemony” in S. French and J. Saatsi (eds.) Scientific Realism and the Quantum.

(2021 [2018]) “Using Models to Correct Data: Paleodiversity and the Fossil Record,” Synthese 198 (Suppl 24): 5919–5940

(2018) “Representing and Explaining: The Eikonic Conception of Scientific Explanation” Philosophy of Science 85 (5): 793-805.

(2018) “Searching for Noncausal Explanations in a Sea of Causes” Explanation Beyond Causation, ed. by A. Reutlinger and J. Saatsi. Oxford University Press.

(2017) “Models in the Geosciences,” (coauthored with Naomi Oreskes) Handbook of Model-Based Science, ed. by L. Magnani and T. Bertolotti. Springer.

(2017) “Models and Explanation,” Handbook of Model-Based Science, ed. by L. Magnani and T. Bertolotti. Springer.

(2017) “On the Identity of Thought Experiments: Thought Experiments Rethought” (Co-authored with Mélanie Frappier ), Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments Eds. J.R. Brown, Y. Fehige, & M. Stuart.

“Fiction As a Vehicle for Truth: Moving Beyond the Ontic Conception” The Monist 99 (3): 260-279 (2016a).

“Maxwell, Helmholtz, and the Unreasonable Effectiveness of the Method of Physical Analogy,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 50: 28-37 (2015).

“Metaphysical Indeterminacy, Properties, and Quantum Theory,” Res Philosophica 91 (3): 449-475 (2014).

“How the Tiger Bush Got Its Stripes: ‘How Possibly’ vs. ‘How Actually’ Model Explanations” Monist 97(3): 323-340 (2014).

“Pluto and the Planet Problem: Folk Concepts and Natural Kinds in Astronomy” Perspectives on Science 22 (4): 464-490 (2014).

“Explanatory Models vs. Predictive Models: Reduced Complexity Modeling in Geomorphology” in Recent Progress in Philosophy of Science: Perspective & Foundational Problems. Dordrecht: Springer (2013)

“Distinguishing Explanatory from Non-Explanatory Fictions”, Philosophy of Science 79 (5): 725-737 (2012).

“How Scientific Models Can Explain”, Synthese 180 (1): 33-45 (2011).

“Three Approaches to the Quantum-Classical Relation: Bohr, Heisenberg & Dirac” Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly 59: (January 2010): 3-28.

“Bohr’s Correspondence Principle,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2010)

“Explanatory Fictions, ” in M. Suarez (Ed.) Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization (Routledge, 2009: 91-109).

“Can Classical Structures Explain Quantum Phenomena?” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59(2): 217-235 (2008)

“Paul Dirac and the Einstein-Bohr Debate,” Perspectives on Science 16(1): 103-114 (2008).

“Heisenberg Meets Kuhn: Closed Theories and Paradigms,” Philosophy of Science 73: 90-107 (2006).

“Niels Bohr’s Generalization of Classical Mechanics,” (co-authored by Peter Bokulich) Foundations of Physics 35(3): 347-371 (2005).

“Open or Closed? Dirac, Heisenberg, and the Relation between Classical and Quantum Mechanics,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (3): 377-396 (2004).

“Horizontal Models: From Bakers to Cats,” Philosophy of Science 70: 609-627 (2003).

“Quantum Measurements and Supertasks,” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17: 127-136 (2003).

“Rethinking Thought Experiments,” Perspectives on Science 9: 285-307 (2001).