Philosophy of Physics research seminars Michaelmas Term 2013

Convened by Harvey Brown

The following seminars will take place at 4.30 p.m. on Thursdays, weeks 1-6, in the Lecture Room of the Philosophy Centre. In week 7, in place of the Thursday seminar, see Relativity Meets Quantum Theory at the LSE, Nov 28-29th (Centre for Philosophy of the Natural and Social Sciences, LSE), and Irreversibility in Axiomatic Thermodynamics, Nov 30 (Department of Philosophy, University of Cambridge). In week 8, in place of the Thursday seminar, see Anthropics: selection effects and fine-tuning in cosmology (miniseries as part of the ‘Establishing the Philosophy of Cosmology’ initiative, at St Anne’s College, Oxford University).

Please note the Centre’s NEW ADDRESS: Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG. (This is the old Radcliffe Infirmary building.) The Lecture Room is on the second floor.

Abstracts are posted weekly.


Thu 17 October: Edward Anderson, DAMPT, Cambridge

Background independence

Thu 24 October: Basil Hiley, Birkbeck College, London

Bohmian non-commutative dynamics: local conditional expectation values are weak values

Thu 31 October: Paul Hoyningen-Heune, Leibniz University of Hannover

The dead end objection against convergent realisms

Thu 7 November: Sam Fletcher, University of California at Irvine

On the reduction of General Relativity to Newtonian gravitation

Thu 14 November: Jeffrey Bub, University of Maryland

Quantum Interactions with Closed Timelike Curves and Superluminal Signaling  

Thu 21 November: Owen Maroney, Oxford

How is there a physics of information?

Thu 28 November: No Seminar

Thu 5 December: No Seminar

Previous seminars >

Two Conferences on the Foundations of Physics: Cambridge-London-Oxford

Relativity Meets Quantum Theory at the LSE 28-29th Nov 2013
Irreversibility in Axiomatic Thermodynamics 30th Nov 2013

the aim with these two conferences is not only to do two workshops on cutting edge topics, but to recognize the collaboration and mutual support between three communities of philosophers of physics: Cambridge, London, and Oxford.

Organizers: Adam Caulton, Eleanor Knox, Bryan W. Roberts, David Wallace.

More information >

Third Oxford Mini-course: Cosmology and Quantum Foundations

10-12 June, 2013

St Anne’s College, Oxford

Quantum theory as originally formulated could only be applied given a classically-described experimental context. As such, can it be applied to the description of the universe as a whole? How should it be formulated so that it can yield a quantum theory of cosmology? Is such a description even needed? What problems in cosmology might be solved in this way? This minicourse examines these questions from the perspective of many-worlds theory, pilot-wave theory, and the relational interpretation of quantum theory, with lectures from leading advocates of each. Continue reading

Rutgers Conference: Structure in Physics

April 29-30 2013

Structure in Physics is a two-day conference at Rutgers University examining the relationship between physics and metaphysics.  We will bring together leading researchers in the philosophy of physics to discuss the metaphysical implications of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology.  This conference is organized by Barry Loewer and Jonathan Schaffer as part of the interuniversity Cosmology Project.

More information >

Second Oxford Miniseries: Is ‘God’ Explanatory?

9-11 January, 2013

St Anne’s College, Oxford

This miniseries will explore the theological and, by extension, metaphysical questions that pertain to cosmology. The origin and order of the cosmos have helped inspire belief in a “Supreme Being” or “First Cause” for millennia; but what bearing, if any, does the modern scientific approach to studying cosmology have on such beliefs? Does introducing God into the discussion add anything?

Lectures can be viewed on YouTube Videos. Continue reading

Yale Conference: Why is there anything rather than nothing? Cosmos, Logos, and the Why of the Universe

6-7-8-9 October 2011
Maurice Greenberg Center at Yale University

Why is there anything?
Cosmos, logos, and the “why” of the universe
… is a transdisciplinary inquiry into the origins and meaning of the cosmos, cross-fertilized by scientific, philosophical, and theological perspectives centered on an exploration of the question most foundational to each:
Why is there something, rather than nothing at all?

More information >