The Modern Mind (Forum)

16 June 2021|

The Modern Mind

We trace the development of our modern ideas about the mind, from the highly influential work of Descartes and the impact of Darwinian evolution to more recent accounts of the ‘extended’ mind and the enhancements made possible by new technologies. Why is Descartes so important? What changed with Darwin? And in what ways have technological advances […]

Who’s a Good Boy? (Forum)

27 May 2021|

Who’s a Good Boy?

Do non-human animals have morals? Can chimpanzees tell right from wrong? Do dolphins think about what they ought to do? And can a dog really be good? Recent scientific work can shed light on these issues, but they also take us to the heart of two great philosophical questions: what does it mean to […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    James Wills (LSE): “Classical Particle Indistinguishability, Precisely.”

James Wills (LSE): “Classical Particle Indistinguishability, Precisely.”

24 May 2021|

 
James Wills (LSE): “Classical Particle Indistinguishability, Precisely.”

I present an analysis of classical particle indistinguishability as ‘observational indistinguishability’ in a certain mathematically precise sense. I will argue that this leads to three interesting and welcome consequences in the foundations of statistical mechanics: (1) The identification and resolution of shortcomings in the ongoing debate concerning the solution to the […]

Alexander Bird (Cambridge): “Against Empiricism”

30 March 2021|

 

Alexander Bird (Cambridge): “Against Empiricism”

Most philosophers of science are realists. Most philosophers of science are, at least implicitly, empiricists. But, I argue, it is not reasonable to be both an empiricist and a realist, because empiricism is motivated by epistemological internalism and realism requires the rejection of internalism. Nor is instrumentalism a reasonable position. So an empiricist […]

John Dougherty (LMU): “I ain’t afraid of no ghost”

29 March 2021|

 
John Dougherty (LMU): “I ain’t afraid of no ghost”

This paper criticizes the traditional philosophical account of the quantization of gauge theories and offers an alternative. On the received view, gauge theories resist quantization because they feature distinct mathematical representatives of the same physical state of affairs. This resistance is overcome by a sequence of ad hoc modifications, […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Emily Adlam (Cambridge): “Generalized Probabilistic Theories as Structural Realism”

Emily Adlam (Cambridge): “Generalized Probabilistic Theories as Structural Realism”

8 March 2021|

 

Emily Adlam (Cambridge): “Generalized Probabilistic Theories as Structural Realism”

In the field of quantum foundations there is a thriving research programme which involves placing quantum mechanics in a wider space of operationally defined theories in order to gain insight into its structure. There are various existing philosophical analyses of this research framework, but most have a strongly instrumentalist […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Ulrich Meyer (Colgate): “Topology and Action at a Distance”

Ulrich Meyer (Colgate): “Topology and Action at a Distance”

16 February 2021|

 

Ulrich Meyer (Colgate): “Topology and Action at a Distance”

This paper presents a novel argument against the possibility of action at a distance, with realism about space-time topology as its main premise.

 

Ulrich Meyer is a Professor or Philosophy at Colgate University. His research interests include metaphysics, logic, philosophy of science and the philosophy of time.

Misinformation (Forum for Philosophy)

4 February 2021|

 

Misinformation 

Information may be power, but misinformation appears to be usurping the throne. From COVID-19 to QAnon, misinformation is more ubiquitous and more dangerous than ever. But why is it so much more attractive to so many? Are there factors that make misinformation more (or less) likely to be believed? What draws people into the world of conspiracy […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Miklós Rédei (LSE): “On the Tension Between Physics and Mathematics”

Miklós Rédei (LSE): “On the Tension Between Physics and Mathematics”

1 February 2021|

 

Miklós Rédei (LSE): “On the Tension Between Physics and Mathematics”

Because of the complex interdependence of physics and mathematics their relation is not free of tensions. The talk looks at how the tension has been perceived and articulated by some physicists, mathematicians and mathematical physicists. Some sources of the tension are identified and it is claimed that the […]

Neil Dewar (Munich): “On Absolute Units”

7 December 2020|

 

Neil Dewar (Munich): “On Absolute Units”

What is the best way to characterise the intrinsic structure of physical quantities? Field’s program shows one approach (that also delivers a nominalist treatment of such quantities); in this talk, I outline how group-theoretic methods can deliver a somewhat simpler, although non-nominalist, way of doing this for scalar and vector quantities. I […]