As many readers may already know, Bob Cohen has sadly passed away earlier this week. Alisa Bokulich, the current director of the Boston Center for Philosophy and History of Science, an eminent center in the field co-founded by Cohen, has sent me the following link to their memorial page for him which has an obituary, photos, and remembrances:
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The Rotman Institute of Philosophy is hosting a conference on Cosmology and the Future of Spacetime on June 12-14, 2017, in London, Ontario. All are welcome to attend, but we ask those interested in joining us to register for planning purposes. The conference is held in conjunction with the LMP conference, on June 15-16th. Below the fold is a more detailed description of the conference theme.
The Center for Philosophy of Science at Pittsburgh is hosting an early career workshop in philosophy of astrophysics and cosmology, Oct. 28-29, 2017.
Philosophy of astrophysics and philosophy of cosmology are still emerging fields within philosophy of physics and general philosophy of science. The overall aim of this workshop is to bring together philosophers and researchers in the physical sciences to collectively explore epistemological and methodological issues in philosophy of astrophysics and cosmology with particular attention to the contributions of observational and experimental evidence in these fields. Some of the topics with which we aim to engage include: the validity of simulation assumptions, use of models and theories in data processing, considerations invoked when integrating different theoretical and/or methodological resources in one application, potential strategies for constraining theory, and principled constraints on what we can know.
Keynote speakers: Wendy Freedman (Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago), and Michela Massimi (School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh)
Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted by June 30, see the CFP for further details.
The XXth iteration of the Urbino Summer School will focus on spacetime and quantum physics (website), held on July 10-13, 2017. The summer school will feature morning lectures given by Christian Wüthrich (University of Geneva) and Francesca Vidotto (Radboud University); and afternoon seminars given by Carlo Rovelli (CPT, Aix-Marseille Université, Université de Toulon, CNRS), F.A. Muller (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Tiziana Vistarini (University of Colorado Boulder). (h/t to Giovanni Macchia)
The twenty first century has, thus far, been a period of rapid progress in cosmology. And yet this very success has begun to expose the limits of current methods and forced cosmologists to explore new ways of learning about the universe and its history. At this conference, we will explore three related areas where methodological innovation has been called for, and where it has already begun. One theme will concern the epistemology of inflation. Does inflationary cosmology inexorably lead us to postulate a multiverse where anything that can happen does happen? And if so, what does it mean to test a theory that is compatible with anything we might observe? Or can we treat inflation as a more conventional theory, with unambiguous observational signatures? A second theme will concern dark matter and dark energy. We have inferred the existence of these entities by comparing observational evidence with models of general relativity. But one might just as well infer, from the behavior of the visible matter in the universe, that general relativity breaks down at cosmological (or even galactic) length scales. What are the prospects for alternatives to general relativity at cosmological scales? How might cosmology be used to test general relativity? The final theme will concern the role of simulation in our understanding of the history of the actual universe. Can simulations be used to test theories of the early universe? Do they provide an independent source of information about cosmology, or are they an intermediary between theory and observation?
See the conference webpage for further details.
The XIX International Summer School in Philosophy of Physics will be held in Urbino 5th– 8th September and in Cesena 9th September 2016, and the organizers invite participants. (H/t to Giovanni Macchia.)
The topic of the school is “MANY-WORLDS INTERPRETATIONS, Quantum mechanics, metaphysics and cosmology.” It will feature morning lectures given by Wayne Myrvold (Western University) and Guido Bacciagaluppi (Utrecht University); and afternoon seminars given by Claudio Calosi (University of Neuchatel), Gennaro Auletta (University of Cassino), and Marica Branchesi (University of Urbino) and F.A. Muller (Erasmus University Rotterdam). Lectures and seminars will be held in English, with a mock trial on September 9th in Italian.
Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard, died yesterday at the age of 89. Putnam made important contributions to many fields in philosophy, including philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, the history of philosophy (American pragmatism, Wittgenstein), moral philosophy, philosophy of mathematics, and, last but not least, philosophy of physics. For his bibliography, click here.
Among many accolades, Putnamn won the Lauener Prize for an Outstanding Oeuvre in Analytical Philosophy in 2012, and I was honored to meet him at the prize ceremony in Bern and the symposium in his honor. At least as recently as that, he was still very active and on top of his game, discussing recent developments concerning the interpretation of quantum mechanics with me on the occasion. It is unlikely that I will meet another philosopher with a comparable breadth in my lifetime, or a more deserving winner of a prize celebrating his lifetime achievements!