Leeds, 12-13 September 2017: Scientific Realism and the Quantum

School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
University of Leeds

12-13 September 2017


Alyssa Ney (UC Davis)
Craig Callender (UCSD)
Adrian Kent (Cambridge)
Carl Hoefer (Barcelona)
Doreen Fraser (Waterloo)

The conference is part of ARHC-funded Scientific Realism and the Quantum project.


This conference brings together philosophy of quantum physics and the scientific realism debate in general philosophy of science. The focus is on epistemological issues of scientific (anti-)realism regarding the nature and limits of our knowledge and understanding of quantum physics and phenomena. This exemplifies a growing trend in the realism debate to study such epistemological issues more ‘locally’ in relation to the details of particular scientific theories. The leading questions are:
– What support is there for or against realism about quantum physics?
– How do we square the metaphysical and interpretational ambiguities alive in quantum physics with the epistemic optimism characteristic of scientific realism?
– Would it be better to adopt a pragmatist or non-realist attitude towards quantum physics (as has been recently argued in various quarters)?

We aim to bring together current research on these inter-sub-disciplinary issues, exploring different perspectives on various issues involved in the scientific realism debate in the detailed context of quantum physics. Specific issues of interest include:
– The impact of quantum mechanics on standard forms of scientific realism.
– The viability of pragmatic approaches to quantum physics.
– The possibility of adopting a realist stance towards the quantum state.
– The status of the wave-function in the realist context.
– The adoption of agnostic attitudes in the context of underdetermination with regard to the interpretations of quantum mechanics.
– The role of analogies in quantum physics and their impact on realism.
– The challenges facing naturalistic approaches in quantum physics in general.
– The impact of the development of renormalization group approaches to quantum field theory on scientific realism.

We invite submissions of extended abstracts of 1000 words for contributed talks by 1st May 2017. Decisions will be made by 15th May 2017. To submit, please prepare your abstracts for blind review, and save your extended abstract as a PDF file. Submit electronically through

Registration, travel, accommodation, etc. information will be available through the conference website.

Further inquiries to Juha Saatsi (J.T.Saatsi@leeds.ac.uk).

David Wallace (University of Southern California)
Steven French (University of Leeds)
Peter Lewis (Dartmouth College)
Richard Healey (University of Arizona
Laura Ruetsche (University of Michigan)
Valia Allori (Northern Illinois University)
Wayne Myrvold (Western University)
Chris Timpson (Oxford)
Matthias Egg (University of Bern)
Dennis Dieks (Utrecht University)
Soazig LeBihan (University of Montana)

Douglas Earl
Steven French
Simon Newey
Juha Saatsi


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Filed under Calls for Abstracts/Papers/Contributions, Conference announcements/CFPs, wuthrich

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