Talk this week: Siska de Baerdemaeker

The Beyond Spacetime project and the Geneva Symmetry Group are happy to announce a talk and a seminar this week by Siska de Baerdemaeker (University of Stockholm), who will be visiting this week. The formal talk (abstract below) will be on

Wednesday, 8 December 2021, at 18:15 in Room L208 (Landolt):
Siska de Baerdemaeker (Stockholm): How not to confirm MOND

In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 3/5 Einsteins.

This talk will be a joint session with the other Beyond Spacetime Centre at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The zoom coordinates are as follows:
Meeting ID: 616 8764 7498
Passcode: 776477
Direct link:

The informal seminar will take place on

Wednesday, 8 December 2021, at 12:15 in Room L208 (Landolt):
Siska de Baerdemaeker (Stockholm): How to find dark matter

Anyone who wishes to attend is welcome to either of the events.

Siska de Baerdemaeker (Stockholm): How not to confirm MOND

While Lambda-CDM has emerged as the standard model of cosmology, a small group of physicists defends MOND (Modified Newtonian Gravity) as an alternative view on cosmology. Exponents of MOND have employed a broad, at times explicitly philosophical, conceptual perspective in arguing their case. This paper offers reasons why that MONDian defense has been ineffective. First, we argue that the defense of MOND can best be reconstructed as an instance of meta-empirical theory assessment (MEA). The formal employment of MEA-type reasoning by MONDians is unconvincing, however, because it lacks the epistemic cogency required for successful MEA-type reasoning. In the last part of the paper, we draw some lessons for the debate and for MEA more generally.

This talk is based on joint work with Richard Dawid. It scores 3/5 Einsteins.

Siska de Baerdemaeker (Stockholm): How to find dark matter

Due to its central role in the concordance model of cosmology and its potential implications for physics beyond the standard model, searches for dark matter are plentiful. However, the combination of dark matter’s limited interactions with a vast space of possibilities for dark matter candidates raises a challenge for scientists: at what point will potential positive evidence for dark matter be considered sufficient to conclude a (likely) dark matter detection? In the seminar, we’ll tackle this question through the discussion of different examples of dark matter searches, ranging from accelerator searches to astrophysical observations of stellar streams, and analyze them using the philosophical literature on theory confirmation.


About wuthrich

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