Talks: Laura Felline

Laura Felline ( Rome 3) will be visiting the Geneva Symmetry Group (GSG) next week. The GSG is happy to present two talks by her, a more formal talk on Wednesday, and an informal seminar on Thursday (abstracts below):

Wednesday, 2 October 2019, at 18:15 in Room L208 (Landolt):

Laura Felline (Rome 3): Quantum theory is not only about information

Thursday, 3 October 2019, at 16:15 in room B111 (Bastions):

Laura Felline (Rome 3): Mechanistic explanation in physics: the measurement problem

Anyone who wishes to attend is welcome.


Wednesday, 2 October 2019 in Room L208 (Landolt):

Laura Felline (Rome 3): Quantum Theory is not only about information

Abstract: There is a time-honoured approach to the foundations of Quantum Theory (QT), according to which the oddities of this theory originate from the improper interpretation of the quantum state as representing properties and behaviour of physical objects. In particular, in the last decades ‘non-representational’ approaches to QT have experienced new life thanks to the evolutions of Information Theory. The ‘motto’ behind this new program is that QT is not about particles or waves and their behaviour, but it’s, rather, about information. In this talk I want to attack the simplistic attitude often adopted in recent illustrations of the subject, and argue 1) that depriving the quantum state of its physical dimension is not sufficient to solve the measurement problem; 2) that, as a consequence of 1), QT is not (only) about information.

In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 2/5

Thursday, 3 October 2019 in Room B111 (Bastions):

Laura Felline (Rome 3): Mechanistic explanation in physics: the measurement problem

Abstract: In the last two decades the mechanistic account of explanation experienced a growing success in the philosophy of special sciences. Notwithstanding such a success, in the domain of physics not only it seems that law-based accounts of explanation (e.g. the unificationist account) are still in good shape, but they are widely assumed to be sufficient to account for explanation in physics, leaving no space for mechanistic explanation. Contra such a conclusion, in this section I argue that we have very good reasons to think that the genuine explanation and understanding of some physical phenomena require a mechanistic strategy. In order to defend such a thesis I analyse a time-honoured problem in quantum theory: the measurement problem. As I will argue, mechanistic explanation can account for the desiderata of a suitable solution to the measurement problem, while law-based theories of explanation fail in this respect.

Paper: Laura Felline, “The measurement problem and two dogmas about quantum mechanics”, and Section 4 of her “Mechanistic explanation in physics” (available on demand).

About wuthrich

I am a philosopher of physics at the University of Geneva.
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