2021 Summer Institute


International Summer Institute in Philosophy of Physics on the PHILOSOPHY OF COSMOLOGY and the PHILOSOPHY OF QUANTUM GRAVITY

Hosted by the University of Geneva-University of Illinois at Chicago Cosmology Beyond Spacetime project
Hotel Le Crêt, Morzine, France 
27 June – 2 July 2021
In recent years, the philosophy of quantum gravity and the philosophy of cosmology have emerged as new fields in their own right, with several summer schools dedicated to each. However, they remain largely unconnected, even though their intersection promises new scientific insights of great significance to philosophical question and the advancement of physics. This Summer Institute proposes to address conceptual, metaphysical, and epistemological implications of big bang, black hole, and multiverse models in quantum gravity: the fundamental nature of space and time, especially the beginning of spacetime, ‘before’ time or ‘outside’ space; the multiverse; the nature of physical law; and how we might have knowledge of such things.
These are just some of the questions that we will discuss in this Summer Institute, which addresses graduate students and postdocs from philosophy of physics and related fields.
• Karen Crowther (Oslo)
• Nick Huggett (Illinois at Chicago)
• Mairi Sakellariadou (King’s College London)
• Chris Smeenk (Western)
• Francesca Vidotto (Western)
• David Wallace (Pittsburgh)
• Christian Wüthrich (Geneva)
Organizing Committee:
Nick Huggett
Gaia Valenti
Christian Wüthrich
The intended audience for the Summer Institute are Masters students, PhD students, and postdocs working or planning to work in the intersection between physics and philosophy. We will also consider applications from philosophers and physicists wishing to expand their existing research interests to include the philosophical implications of quantum gravity and cosmology. We will furthermore consider applications from members of the general public who can demonstrate an acquaintance with the subject equivalent to the Master’s level.
COVID contingency planning: We are acutely aware of the corona virus pandemic and the uncertainty this implies for this event. We are currently planning to hold the meeting in person, at the place and time specified above. We will decide by mid-April 2021 whether or not we will go forward with these plans. We will only do so if we judge the situation to be reasonably safe. If it will not be possible to hold the Summer Institute in person this summer, we will postpone it to the summer of 2022. In this case, we will communicate the date (probably in the second half of June 2022) to everyone involved as soon as possible. Applicants who have been admitted for summer 2021 will be invited to participate in summer 2022 without the need to re-apply. We may issue another call for applications to fill open slots if we postpone it to 2022.
To apply for the Summer Institute, candidates should submit:
• A cover letter of no more than one page describing your current research interest and its relevance to the topic of the Summer School; please explain as specifically as possible how the summer school will benefit your research plans.
• A current CV.
• A short letter from your advisor or other person knowledgeable of your work, expressing your suitability.
• Optional: participants wishing to present their own work need to submit a title and a 500-word abstract. If accepted, they will get the opportunity to present their work.
Please combine all your documents into one PDF file and upload it here by 31 March 2021. Decisions will be made by early April.
The Organizing Committee will select the admitted participants based on the academic strength of their file and the pertinence of their interests; in other words, we will consider how much the candidate is likely to benefit from attending the Summer School and how much the Summer School would likely benefit from the attendance of the candidate and try to maximize the sum of the benefits.
The Summer Institute is generously supported by the John Templeton Foundation. This support funds a significant part of room and board for accepted participants.  However, there will be a fee of CHF 200 for each applicant, which will cover the remaining cost of room (single occupancy) and full board and the full participation in all activities of the Summer Institute. Participants are responsible for their travel to and from the site of the Summer Institute, and for incidentals such as beverages.