Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Foundations of Physics (29-31 July 2013)


Idea and Motivation

This conference will consider topics across the entire spectrum of foundational and philosophical approaches to physical theory. Whilst there will be a particular focus upon the analysis of specific physical theories (e.g. classical and quantum theories of spacetime, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, statistical physics), we also invite submissions on methodological questions, experimental practices, and the study of philosophically interesting episodes from the history of physics. It is hoped that bringing together philosophers of physics, historians of physics, and working physicists to discuss topics of mutual interest, will be of great benefit to practitioners of each discipline.

This will be the 17th in the series of UK and European Meeting on the Foundations of Physics, following on from successful conferences in Aberdeen (2010) and Leeds (2007).


Download the program as a PDF file here.

Monday, 29 July
9:00 Stephan Hartmann: Welcome
9:05 Bernd Huber: Welcome of the LMU President
  Invited Session 1 – Chair: Stephan Hartmann (Room B139, Theresienstr.)
9:15 John D. Norton: The Neglect of Fluctuations in the Thermodynamics of Computation
10:30 Coffee Break
  Invited Session 2 – Chair: Mathias Frisch (Room B139, Theresienstr.)
10:45 Jean Bricmont: From the Microscopic to the Macroscopic World
12:00 Lunch Break: Change of Venue and Registration (Room 109, Richard-Wagner-Str.)
  4 parallel tracks
  Colloquium 1: Journeys in Platonia: Celebrating 50 Years Since The End of Time (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 1 – Chair: Miklos Redei (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
13:30 Harvey Brown: Leibniz, Mach and Barbour Michael Stoeltzner: On some Virtues and Vices of the Algebraic Approach
14:10 Edward Anderson: Kendall’s Shape Statistics as a Classical Realization of Barbour-type Timeless Records Theory Approach to Quantum Gravity Jeremy Butterfield: Renormalization and Nagel's Account of Inter-Theoretic Relations
14:50 Sean Gryb: Barbour’s Shape Space as an Ontology for Gravity Jonathan Bain: Pragmatists and Purists on CPT Invariance in Relativistic Quantum Field Theory
  Contributed Session 2 – Chair: Iulian Toader (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 3 – Chair: Gábor Hofer-Szabó (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
13:30 Pui Him Ip: The Mystery Behind Schrödinger's First Communication: A Non-Historical Study on the Variational Approach and its Implications Christian de Ronde: Interpreting the Modal Kochen Specker Theorem: On Quantum Possibility and Potentiality
14:10 Molly Kao: Unification in the Old Quantum Theory Benjamin Feintzeig: Hidden Variables and Commutativity in Quantum Mechanics
14:50 Alexander Blum and Christoph Lehner: A Silver Lining Among Infinities: How the Spin-Statistics Theorem Restored Faith in Quantum Field Theory Paul Näger: The Causal Structure of EPR Experiments
15:30 Coffee Break
  4 parallel tracks
  Contributed Session 4 – Chair: Alexander Blum (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 5 – Chair: Jeremy Butterfield (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
16:00 John Manchak and James Weatherall: The Geometry of Conventionality Miklos Redei: Operational Independence Concepts in Algebraic Quantum Theory
16:40 Erik Curiel: Are Black Holes Hot or Cold? Gábor Hofer-Szabó: On the Localization Problem of the Common Cause
17:20 Vincent Lam: The Status of Mass and Energy in General Relativity Paniz Imani: The Locality Axiom in Quantum Field Theory and Tensor Products of C*-algebras
  Contributed Session 6 – Chair: Adam Caulton (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 7 – Chair: Charlotte Werndl (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
16:00 Iulian Toader: Trans-World Structuralism and Naturalistic Metaphysics Paul Boes: Is Howard's Separability Principle a Sufficient Condition for Outcome Independence?
16:40 Thomas Müller: Is a Gas Equal to a Collection of Molecules? On the Modal Logic of Reduction Mile Gu, Karoline Wiesner, Elisabeth Rieper and Vlatko Vedral: Sharpening Occam's Razor with Quantum Mechanics
17:20 Paul Teller: The Failure of Traditional Measurement-Accuracy Realism and the Repercussions for Understanding Vagueness Rathindra Nath Sen: Galilei Invariance and the Welcher Weg Problem
18:00 Change of Venue
  Dinner Reception
19:00 Dinner Reception at Deutsches Museum (only for registered conference participants)
  Evening Lecture – Moderation: Stephan Hartmann (LMU Munich)
20:00 Introduction: Johannes-Geert Hagmann (Deutsches Museum)
  Evening Lecture by Julian Barbour: The Mystery of Time and Size in Einstein's Theory of Gravity
Watch the video abstract on "MCMP at First Sight" here, and download a printable version of the lecture's summary here.
21:30 End


Tuesday, 30 July
  4 parallel tracks
  Contributed Session 8 – Chair: James Weatherall (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 9 – Chair: Vincent Lam (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
9:00 Adam Caulton: Being Serious about Permutation Invariance in Quantum Mechanics Alyssa Ney: Configuration Space in a Relativistic Setting
9:40 F.A. Muller: Witness-Discernibility of Elementary Particles Juliusz Doboszewski: Branching From Cobordism
10:20 Noel Swanson, David John Baker and Hans Halvorson: The Conventionality of Parastatistics Hanoch Ben-Yami: Causal Order, Temporal Order, and Becoming in Special Relativity
  Contributed Session 10 – Chair: Thomas Müller (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 11 – Chair: Paul Teller (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
9:00 Charlotte Werndl: Counting States in Statistical Mechanics and Dynamical Systems Theory Michael Cuffaro: On the Significance and Implications of the Gottesman-Knill Theorem
9:40 Marij van Strien: The Origin and Foundations of Laplacian Determinism Johannes Kofler: Bell Violation with Entangled Photons and without the Fair-Sampling Assumption
10:20 Sylvia Wenmackers and Danny Vanpoucke: A Deterministic Model for Norton's Dome Meinard Kuhlmann: Decoherence: How Much Does it Help?
11:00 Coffee Break
  4 parallel tracks
  Contributed Session 12 – Chair: F.A. Muller (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 13 – Chair: Christoph Lehner (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
11:15 Lev Vaidman: Local Explanation of the Aharonov-Bohm Effect Ken Wharton: Lagrangian-Only Quantum Theory
11:55 Neil Dewar: The Aharonov-Bohm Effect and Non-Locality Michael Silberstein, William Stuckey and Timothy McDevitt: A Path Integral Over Graphs Approach to Unification and its Foundational Implications
  Contributed Session 14 – Chair: Michael Cuffaro (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 15 – Chair: Meinard Kuhlmann (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
11:15 Peter Janotta and Raymond Lal: Generalized Probabilistic Theories Without the No-Restriction Hypothesis Attila Molnár and Gergely Székely: Operationality in the Axiomatic Foundations of Relativity Theory
11:55 Bruno Hartmann: Physical Determination of the Action David Rey: Similarity Assessments, Spacetime, and the Gravitational Field: What Does the Metric Tensor Represent in General Relativity?
12:35 Lunch Break
  4 parallel tracks
  Contributed Session 16 – Chair: Lev Vaidman (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 17 – Chair: Ken Wharton (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
13:45 Richard Dawid and Karim Thebault: On the Empirical Testing of the subjective Everett Interpretation Daniele Oriti: On the Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Gravity
14:25 Jeffrey A. Barrett: Pure Wave Mechanics and the Very Idea of Empirical Adequacy David Schroeren: Decoherent Histories of Spin Networks
15:05 Richard Healey: Decoherence in a Pragmatist View: Resolving the Quantum Measurement Problem Yann Benetreau-Dupin: Cosmic Surprise, Anthropic Reasoning, and Bayesian Analysis
  Contributed Session 18 – Chair: Gergely Székely (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 19 – Chair: Sam Sanders (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
13:45 Giovanni Cinà: Connecting Abstractions from Hilbert Spaces: From Categories to Frames Syman Stevens: The Dynamical Approach as Regularity Relationalism
14:25 JarosÅ‚aw Pykacz: Many-Valued Logic as a Basis for the New Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Erdmann Görg: About the Change in Newton's Justification of an Absolute Space
15:05   Marco Giovanelli: A Dialog of the Deaf, Einstein and the Logical Empiricists on Rods and Clocks in General Relativity
15:45 Change of Venue
  Invited Session 3 – Chair: Roland Poellinger (Room B139, Theresienstr.)
16:15 Fay Dowker: Things Happen, They Just Happen in a Partial Order
17:30 Coffee Break
  Invited Session 4 – Chair: Christian Joas (Room B139, Theresienstr.)
17:45 Markus Aspelmeyer: Schrödinger's Mirrors: Towards Table-Top Experiments at the Interface between Quantum Physics and Gravity
19:00 End


Wednesday, 31 July
  4 parallel tracks
  Colloquium 2: On the Split Between Gravity and Inertia in Different Spacetime Theories – part 1 (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 20 – Chair: Stephan Hartmann (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
9:00 Dennis Lehmkuhl and Oliver Pooley: Against the Gravity–Inertia Split Sam Sanders: The Universe is a Green Turing Machine, when seen Through Green Glasses
9:40 Eleanor Knox: The Gravity-Inertia Split in Newtonian and Relativistic Contexts Tim Räz and Tilman Sauer: Applying an Account of the Applicability of Mathematics to the World
10:20 Harvey Brown: The Role of Geometric Explanation in General Relativity  
  Contributed Session 21 – Chair: Richard Dawid (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 22 – Chair: Jeffrey A. Barrett (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
9:00 Antonio Vassallo: The Metaphysics of Bohmian Quantum Gravity Tom Bullock and Paul Busch: On the Connection Between SIC POVMs and MUBs
9:40 Casey McCoy: The Quantum to Classical Transition in Inflationary Cosmology Federico Holik, Angel Plastino, Manuel Saenz and Gabriel Catren: Quantum Probabilities and Non Distributive Lattices
10:20 Marc Holman: The Significance of Empirical Principles for Quantum Gravity Alexei Grinbaum: Quantum Observer and Kolmogorov Complexity
11:00 Coffee Break
  4 parallel tracks
  Colloquium 2: On the Split Between Gravity and Inertia in Different Spacetime Theories – part 2 (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 23 – Chair: Michael Silberstein (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
11:15 J. Brian Pitts: Inertia and the Conformal-Projective Decomposition for Nordström-Einstein-Fokker, Massive Scalar, Einstein, and Massive Spin 2 Gravities Elizabeth Miller: Quantum Mechanics and Humean Supervenience
11:55 Roundtable Discussion Thomas Barrett: On the Structure of Classical Mechanics
  Contributed Session 24 – Chair: Wolfgang Pietsch (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 25 – Chair: Daniele Oriti (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
11:15 Angel S. Sanz: Bohmian Mechanics: Is it possible to Think the Quantum World in a Different Way? Markus Mueller: Axiomatic Reconstructions and Generalizations of Quantum Theory
11:55 Charles Sebens: Quantum Mechanics Without Wave Functions: The Newtonian Dynamics of Many Interacting Pseudo-Bohmian Worlds Andreas Doering: Topos-Based Logic for Quantum Systems and Bi-Heyting Algebras
12:35 Lunch Break
  4 parallel tracks
  Contributed Session 26 – Chair: Roland Poellinger (Room "Sommerfeld", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 27 – Chair: Karim Thébault (Room "Heisenberg", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
13:45 Alison Peterman: Spinoza on Extension and Space Matthias Egg: Inequivalent Representations Do Not Undermine Realism About Particles
14:25 Petter Sandstad: Powers and Kinds - Exemplified through a Study of Waves Radin Dardashti: Group Structuralism in Particle Physics
15:05 Wolfgang Pietsch: Against Bayesianism in Physics: a Novel Argument Pablo Ruiz de Olano: Are Elementary Particles Irreducible Representations? Color, Flavor, and Structuralism about SU(3)
  Contributed Session 28 – Chair: Andreas Doering (Room "Pauli", Richard-Wagner-Str.) Contributed Session 29 – Chair: Markus Mueller (Room "Wien", Richard-Wagner-Str.)
13:45 Peter Janotta, Christian Gogolin, Jonathan Barrett and Nicolas Brunner: Limits on Nonlocal Correlations From the Structure of the Local State Space Marcin Pawlowski: What do we know about Monogamy of Nonlocal Correlations?
14:25 Johannes Biniok and Paul Busch: Multi-Slit Interferometry and Commuting Functions of Position and Momentum Wieslaw Laskowski, Marcin Markiewicz, Tomasz Paterek and Marcin Wiesniak: Incompatible Local Hidden-Variable Models of Quantum Correlations
15:05 Simon Friederich: Rethinking Local Causality Louis Vervoort: Can the Bell Inequality be Violated through Local Interactions with a Background Medium?
15:45 Change of venue
  Invited Session 3 – Chair: Karim Thébault (Room B139, Theresienstr.)
16:15 Rob Spekkens: On Causal Explanations of Quantum Correlations
17:30 Coffee Break
  Invited Session 4 – Chair: Detlef Dürr (Room B139, Theresienstr.)
17:45 Tim Maudlin: New Foundations for Physical Geometry
19:00 End



Video recordings of the evening lecture, invited talks, and colloquia

The MCMP regularly records lectures and talks and makes them publicly available on iTunes U. The recordings of the invited talks at "Models and Decisions" can be found online: Access the videos through iTunes U, download the QuickTime files or watch them online here.

Interview with Julian Barbour on "MCMP at First Sight"

Find our 7-minutes video interview with Julian Barbour on the "MCMP at First Sight" server here.

Interview with Stephan Hartmann about goals and topics of the conference

Click here to open the print interview (LMU press announcement) with Stephan Hartmann on


The conference poster "Foundations of Physics"


The conference is generously supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP).