Description

This course offers an introduction to the philosophy of physics, which deals with methodological, epistemological, and metaphysical issues in physics. It consists of seven modules offering a rich menu in philosophically deep questions arising in modern physics: space and time, quantum mechanics, and advanced topics of contemporary physics.

The seven modules are as follows:

  1. Organization and introduction: what is philosophy of physics, what are physical theories, and what is determinism?
  2. Substantivalism vs relationalism: Newton, Leibniz, Kant, and time in Newtonian physics in general
  3. Time in special relativity: relativity of simultaneity, Minkowksi spacetime, and implications for the metaphysics of time
  4. Time in general relativity, cosmology, and beyond
  5. Moving backward and forward in time: time travel in modern physics
  6. Quantum mechanics: phenomena and theory
  7. Quantum mechanics: the measurement problem and quantum non-locality

Accessibility and Prerequisites. This course will be self-contained and has no prerequisites. While some background in physics, mathematics, and philosophy will be helpful, I will not assume any specific knowledge beyond high school mathematics.

This course will be taught in English.

Recommended Texts

  • Nick Huggett. Everywhere and Everywhen: Adventures in Physics and Philosophy. Oxford University Press (2010).
  • Most reading materials are available through icorsi.

Zoomiquette for online meetings

  • Please use your real name in the meeting.
  • All participants will in general have their videos switched ON and their microphones switched OFF. The latter is better for bandwidth and the former is no problem for it, but will make the video conference approximate a normal human interaction.
  • If you would like to ask a question or make a comment, please either raise your hand (there is a function in zoom for that), or, preferably, say so in the chat.
  • For a finger, please say 'finger' in the chat.
  • Once I call on you (and please only then), unmute your microphone and speak. You can leave your microphone on for a follow-up question.

Course Requirements and Evaluation

The grade for this course will be determined by the points obtained from a single type of evaluation: there will be three sets of homework assignments each worth 10 points.

Homework assignments are listed here:

Course Materials

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