It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Aristidis Arageorgis, lecturer in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Law at the National Technical University of Athens. Aristides worked mostly in the philosophy of physics, but also in general philosophy of science and the philosophy of mathematics. He received his PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995. The community will miss him.
I will be happy to link obituaries or announcements which appear online. Here is the announcement from Pitt’s HPS department.
Classical energy conditions were introduced as a means of codifying generic properties of matter in general relativity. They play key roles in the singularity theorems of Hawking and Penrose and in many other results of mathematical relativity. However, not all models of classical matter obey the pointwise energy conditions, and quantum fields cannot obey any of them. This workshop will address two main themes, bringing together experts in both areas: (a) the use of weakened energy conditions in classical relativity, (b) the Quantum Energy Inequalities that can be proved for various quantum field theory models, and their consequences. In addition, related topics in mathematical relativity and quantum field theory will be discussed.
The First Chilean Conference on the Philosophy of Physics will be hosted by the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso and will take place in Santiago and Viña del Mar from 28 to 30 November 2018.
For more information, please visit the conference website at https://philphyschile.wixsite.com/2018.
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.