Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Global Structure in Semi-Classical Gravity (21-23 July 2022)

Idea & Motivation

Semi-classical gravity (SCG)---the coupling of the dynamics of quantum fields to the classical spacetime geometry of general relativity byway of the semi-classical Einstein field equation (SCEFE)---is the framework within which black hole thermodynamics is formulated. As such, it is widely held to provide the most secure theoretical clues
to a search for a theory of quantum gravity. Considered in its own right, however, it already presents us with a plethora of foundational and conceptual problems that require investigation, even over and above the most famous one, Hawking's Information-Loss Paradox. In what sense is it legitimate to think of black holes as thermodynamical systems? What is the causal structure of an evaporating black hole spacetime? What is black hole entropy? How does the Generalized Second Law ramify into the host of other problems of fundamental physical and philosophical import that the ordinary Second Law does, from the arrow of time and the nature of spacetime to issues of probability, causality, predictability and determinism? What is the difference between geometry and matter? Are there singularities in the semi-classical regime, and does a form of cosmic censorship hold in it? Are there physically reasonable full solutions to the SCEFE? What role do classical energy conditions and quantum energy inequalities play, and how do they relate to entropy and information? How does holography relate to and constrain all this?

This will be the first major conference to address foundational issues associated with SCG, and to try to examine how they all bear on each other. Invited physicists and philosophers have been chosen to represent different approaches to SCG (quantum field theory on curved spacetime, emergent gravity, canonical gravity, holography) and to discuss different kinds of issues (locality, information loss, the nature of black hole entropy, singularities and cosmic censorship, epistemology, methodology, ontology, inter alia), in an attempt to foster a dialogue among the different fields. Contributed talks from both physicists and philosophers will be chosen in part so as to complement the perspectives of the invited speakers. Such a gathering will spur new, innovative approaches to the problem, as well as connecting and invigorating work on existing approaches. It will also provide young researchers with a comprehensive introduction to the state of the art of this central field of research, and established researchers with a comprehensive overview.

Confirmed Speakers

Call for Abstracts

We invite the submission of paper abstracts for the conference.

Abstracts should include a title, a brief abstract (up to 200 words), and a full abstract (up to 1000 words), blinded for peer review. They should be PDF files, submitted to the conference's EasyChair account. The deadline for submission is 07 March 2022. We will select 4 submissions for presentation at the conference. Decisions will be sent to all applicants by 31 March 2022.

We plan to publish the proceedings of the conference as a special issue of a leading journal (e.g., /Universe/).

We are committed to fostering diversity and equality in our programs. Submissions from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. The conference will be organized and run under the MCMP's code of conduct.


Public-health conditions permitting, we plan to hold the conference in-person, with no video connections, although the talks and Q&A will be recorded (pending agreement by the speakers). Please send
registration requests by 26 June 2022 using the following form:

The fees for the conference and dinner are as follows.

Senior researchers with permanent positions (associate and full
professors, etc.): conference fee EUR 40

Junior researchers (assistant professors, post-docs, etc.): conference
fee EUR 25

Students (masters, doctoral, etc.): no conference fee

Conference dinner (for everyone): EUR 30


For information about practical matters and registration, please contact one of the organisers.


Funded in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projektnummer 312032894, CU 338/1-2. Also supported by the Lichtenberg Group for History and Philosophy of Physics at the University of Bonn, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Dennis Lehmkuhl.