Synthese Special Issue on Spacetime Functionalism
Guest Editors: Karen Crowther, Niels Linnemann, Christian Wüthrich (Department of Philosophy, University of Geneva)
Special Issue Description:
The aim of the special issue is to investigate whether and how a functionalist approach may provide the relevant conceptual tools for understanding the nature of spacetime, particularly as described by fundamental physics. A precursor to the idea of spacetime functionalism has been applied in the context of special relativity (in the form of Brown’s “dynamical approach”), yet the idea promises to be useful also in general relativity, and beyond – to quantum gravity, where it has been suggested that spacetime is not fundamental, and the issue of emergence arises. We would like to discuss the analogy here with other forms of functionalism in philosophy – in particular in metaphysics and philosophy of mind.
All of the BHI Second Annual Conference talks are now uploaded on the
BHI channel on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeKr4Y4flol0SDcV3qNxj_w?view_as=subscriber as well as the BHI website (https://bhi.fas.harvard.edu). You will find the Keynote by Ranier Weiss as well as the popular session, moderated by Ramesh Narayan, “How will we prove Black Holes are Real” and the lovely “Remembering Stephen Hawking” by Andy Strominger and Malcom Perry.
As some of you know, I have assumed the role of associate editor for the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science at the beginning of this year. One of the biggest problems we all face is that of finding useful and reliable referees. So BJPS wants the wider profession to consider and discuss a new proposal for an editorial policy, which is supposed to address this. It is explained here:
We encourage discussion of this, so please do leave comments if you have thoughts about this!
As the first interdisciplinary center for the study of black holes, the Black Hole Initiative (BHI, https://bhi.fas.harvard.edu/) is a nexus for scholars from fields in which black holes play prominent roles: Mathematics, Philosophy, Astronomy, Physics and History. A central mission of the BHI is to foster cross-disciplinary studies and communication of results in the rapidly growing area of black hole science. Engaging essays that illuminate research and ideas are solicited for a competition, with monetary awards for the top 5 papers.
Thermodynamics as a Resource Theory:
Foundational and Philosophical Implications
Interdisciplinary workshop of the resource-theoretic revolution in thermodynamics
June 20-22, 2018, The University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario).
Recently, there has been a shift in the way that many physicists are approaching the science of thermodynamics. Instead of regarding its laws as purely physical laws, researchers are increasingly treating the theory as a theory about how agents, such as ourselves, can use information about a physical system as a resource for extracting useful work from the system. Seen this way, investigations into the thermodynamics of quantum systems have a deep connection with work in Quantum Information Theory.
This interdisciplinary workshop brings together philosophers and physicists to explore the philosophical and foundational implications of the resource-theoretic turn in thermodynamics.
The Forum Scientiarum (University of Tuebingen) kindly invites 15 graduate students and young researchers in the field of philosophy, physics, and mathematics, to apply for the 7th Summer School on the History and Philosophy of Science:
August 6th – August 10th, 2018
**What can we learn today from Einstein’s interface of physics and philosophy?**
five lectures by *Thomas Ryckman* (Stanford University)
and a keynote lecture by *Jeroen Van Dongen* (University of Amsterdam)
I would like to draw your attention to the following public talk, which is organized by the “service de communication” of the University of Geneva, with the support of the Geneva Symmetry Group (https://genevasymmetrygroup.wordpress.com/):
Thursday, 17 May 2018, 18h30, Uni Dufour (room will be advertised):
Fay Dowker, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Imperial College London:
Past, Present and Future: The Science of Time
(The talk will be in English, with simultaneous translation into French.)