This course is co-taught with Claudio Calosi.

Talk of fundamentality is ubiquitous in philosophy and the empirical sciences, metaphysics and physics in particular. Usually it is supposed to capture the intuitive idea that some items are basic, and everything else is built up from---or can be explained in terms of---those basic items. The seminar aims at addressing the recently flourishing literature on fundamentality. In the first part, we will address general questions about fundamentality: can it be defined, or should we take it as a primitive notion? What theoretical work is fundamentality supposed to do? What entities, if any, are eligible for being fundamental? How does fundamentality relate to some other crucial notions, e.g. supervenience, dependence, invariance? Is there a fundamental level?, and so on. In the second part, we will address specific questions about the role of fundamentality in physics, such as: what is it for a physical theory or a physical law to be fundamental? Does physics provide any evidence for a natural hierarchy of different levels of fundamentality?

Course Requirements

If this seminar is taken for credit, please let us know. You will have to fulfill requirements, depending on the module for which you are taking this course:

- Evaluation: travail écrit de recherche avec soutenance (env. 25 pages, 50'000 signes).

Course Materials

All reading materials will be made available on Moodle.

Course materials such as lecture notes, handouts, etc may be made available as they will be used in class.

Presentation materials:

Schedule (Fall 2018)

This is the schedule for the seminar. It is subject to adjustment.

Date Readings Presenter(s)
19.09. Introduction Claudio Calosi, Christian Wüthrich
26.09. Schaffer Lorenzo Cocco
03.10. Bennett
10.10. Cameron
17.10. Morganti Augustin Baas
24.10. Bliss
31.10. Guest lecture Fabrice Correia
07.11. No seminar (semaine de lecture)
14.11. Healey
21.11. Guest lecture Karen Crowther
28.11. Hoefer and Smeenk Niels Linnemann
05.12. Hoefer
12.12. Ney
19.12. Guest lecture.
New time and room: 18:15-19:45, L208
Kerry McKenzie