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The schedule for the the NY/NJ Philosophy of Science Group for the Fall Semester

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Published: 15 October 2013

Schedule for Fall 2013

Posted on by pdw2109

The schedule for the the NY/NJ Philosophy of Science Group for the Fall Semester is below, along with abstracts for each talk. The speakers will be Sean Carroll (Caltech), David Wallace (Oxford), Ward Struyve (Rutgers), and Angelo Bassi (Trieste). 

 

Friday, October 25 

5 Washington Place (NYU Philosophy Building)

1st Floor, Room 101

4:00-6:00 pm

 

“Cosmology in Very Large Universes”

Sean Carroll, Caltech

 

The universe is obviously a big place, but modern physics frequently envisions scenarios in which it is very large indeed: large enough that any allowed local macrostate (such as the one describing you and the room you are sitting in) is likely to exist more than once, perhaps an infinite number of times. This situation induces “self-locating uncertainty,” in which we can know the state of the universe exactly and still not know where we are in it. I will argue that the obvious way to deal with such uncertainty is also the right way: by assigning equal credence to every appearance. Sometimes this raises problems, such as the possibility that we are random fluctuations in an equilibrium background (Boltzmann Brains), and we need to adjust our cosmology to fix things. Other times it is helpful, as in the many-worlds approach to quantum mechanics, where it leads directly to the Born Rule.

 

 

Friday, November 1

5 Washington Place (NYU Philosophy Building)

1st Floor, Room 101

4:00-6:00 pm

 

“The Non-Problem of Gibbs vs. Boltzmann Entropy”

David Wallace, Oxford

 

Contemporary philosophy of statistical mechanics is often set up as a battle royale between Gibbsian and Boltzmannian conceptions of entropy, with the Gibbsian approach generally regarded as philosophically suspect. I argue that, although much is indeed conceptually wrong  with Gibbsian statistical mechanics as it is conventionally presented, the framework itself is perfectly coherent. Furthermore, if the foundational assumptions required by Boltzmann’s approach are granted, they suffice to underpin the Gibbsian approach equally well, and indeed the Boltzmannian approach can be understood as a special case of the Gibbsian approach. In particular, the question of which definition of entropy is right becomes essentially a matter of terminology, of no great conceptual significance.

 

 

Tuesday, November 12

Columbia University

Hamilton Hall, Room 408

4:10-6:00 pm

 

“Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking and the Higgs Mechanism: Lifting the veil of gauge”

Ward Struyve, Rutgers

 

 

 

Monday, December 2

Columbia University

Hamilton Hall, Room 703

4:10-6:00 pm

 

TBA

Angelo Bassi, Trieste

 

 

As usual, specific announcements will be sent as each talk approaches. If you have any questions, or would like to be added to the mailing list, please send an email to nyphilsci@gmail.com

 

 


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