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    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 […]

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, […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    Chrysovalantis Stergiou (The American College of Greece): “On Empirical Underdetermination of Physical Theories in C*Algebraic Setting”

Chrysovalantis Stergiou (The American College of Greece): “On Empirical Underdetermination of Physical Theories in C*Algebraic Setting”

30 November 2020|

 

Chrysovalantis Stergiou (The American College of Greece): “On Empirical Underdetermination of Physical Theories in C*Algebraic Setting”

Empirical underdetermination of physical theories by observational data lies at the heart of the debate over scientific realism. Antirealists of different strands contend that if observation cannot determine the state of a physical system then to talk about a uniquely defined state […]

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    Henrique Gomes & Jeremy Butterfield (Cambridge): “Geometrodynamics as Functionalism about Time”

Henrique Gomes & Jeremy Butterfield (Cambridge): “Geometrodynamics as Functionalism about Time”

19 October 2020|

 

Henrique Gomes & Jeremy Butterfield (Cambridge): “Geometrodynamics as Functionalism about Time”

A recent literature about a doctrine called ‘spacetime functionalism’ focuses on how the physics of matter and radiation contributes to determining, or perhaps even determines or explains, chrono-geometry. Thus spacetime functionalism is closely related to relational, and specifically Machian, approaches to chrono-geometry and dynamics; and to what […]

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    Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

9 December 2019|

 

Carina Prunkl (Oxford): “How Anthropocentric is Thermodynamics?”

Thermodynamics “smells more of its human origin than other branches of physics”, Bridgman famously wrote in 1941. Taking a closer look at the history of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, we find that this ‘human smell’ enters the subject as early as the writings of Maxwell, who makes use of concepts such […]

Matt Farr (Cambridge): “The C Theory of Time”

30 April 2018|

 

Matt Farr (Cambridge): “The C Theory of Time”

Does time have a direction? Intuitively, it does. After all, our experiences, our thoughts, even our scientific explanations of phenomena are time-directed: things evolve from earlier to later, and it would seem unnecessary and indeed odd to try to expunge such talk from our philosophical lexicon. Nevertheless, in this talk […]

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    Nora Boyd (Pittsburgh): “Daedal Data: The Problem of Empirical Adequacy”

Nora Boyd (Pittsburgh): “Daedal Data: The Problem of Empirical Adequacy”

20 March 2017|

 

Nora Boyd (Pittsburgh): “Daedal Data: The Problem of Empirical Adequacy”

Whatever else our theories about the natural world are, they ought to be consistent with the evidence produced by our interactions with it – our theories ought to be at least empirically adequate. This is the minimal commitment of empiricism. Yet the central notions of evidence and empirical […]