Structure in Physics, a two-day conference examining the metaphysical implications of physics, will be held at Rutgers University from Friday, April 26-Saturday, April 27. The conference will bring together leading researchers to discuss the relationship between physics and metaphysics and the metaphysical implications quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology.
For more information, see the conference webpage.
Tomorrow, March 28, Jeremy Butterfield will speak at 5 Washington Place from 4:00-6:00 PM. The title of his talk is “Distinguishing Varieties of Relativistic Causality.” For more information, check out the NY/NJ Philosophy of Science Group’s Webpage here.
Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton, will be visiting the Rutgers Philosophy of Physics class on Friday, April 19, from 1-4PM. His talk will begin by discussing the various reasons why most cosmologists today consider the big bang inflationary cosmology to be the leading, if not proven, theory of the universe. Then the discussion will turn to explaining why each of these reasons is flawed. This naturally leads to the question: “what is the alternative?” Understanding the flaws suggests possible directions to turn. This lecture will take place at the Rutgers Philosophy Seminar Room, at 3 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Summer Institute/School in Philosophy of Cosmology UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) June 23-July 14, 2013
Directors: David Albert (Columbia), Barry Loewer (Rutgers), Joel Primack (UCSC)
Accepting applications until March 15.
The Multi-university Templeton Project on Philosophy of Cosmology will conduct a three week summer institute in philosophy of cosmology at the University of California Santa Cruz. The purpose of the institute is to promote understanding of and research in issues in the philosophy of cosmology. Among the topics to be discussed are philosophical foundations of statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and relativity theory, the direction of time, questions of whether space and time are fundamental or emergent, reasons for believing in a multi-verse, anthropic arguments, the metaphysics of laws and chance, why anything at all exists. There will also be lectures on recent developments in cosmology intended for participants who are not cosmologists. Read more…
Tim Maudlin has recently weighed in on two books which explore the question of why there is something rather than nothing. The first, ‘A Universe From Nothing’ by physicist Laurence Krauss, has been controversially panned by our group’s researcher David Albert; the second, ‘Why Does the World Exist’ by Jim Holt, has been controversially panned by physicist Freeman Dyson.
Sean Carroll has an excellent essay “Does the Universe Need God?” which appears in the collection The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity.
The essay argues that cosmology doesn’t require or support theological hypotheses. Sean has given permission for us to post it here to be subjected to comments. Maybe he will reply to some. As usual comments will be moderated.
There’s an interesting article in the most reacent Chronicle of Higher Education discussing recent Templeton grants to philosophers and scientists, with special emphasis on this one. If you’d like to know more about the history of the Templeton foundation, or about the process by which our group became affiliated with the foundation, it’s definitely worth a read. You can find it here.