Essay Contest

Last call for entries to the 2017 essay contest – the deadline is September 15th.

Apologies that things have been quiet over the summer – we will soon have news of the 2017-18 program. Watch this spot!


Please visit us next year!

We invite interested scholars for short visits to the Spacetime After Quantum Gravity research group, located in the philosophy departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Geneva. To facilitate visits we can offer financial assistance for travel and lodging, office facilities, and of course excellent intellectual company. Visits can be from a few days to a few weeks (or possibly longer).

Details are here:

Last Talk of the Year!

Please join us this week for the final talk of the year – in Chicago at 11am in UH1430, on skype in Geneva, or on YouTube.

• Wednesday 31 May 2017 at UIC – Nic Teh (Notre Dame): Newton-Cartan theory and Emergent Newtonian Gravitation

Abstract: In recent work on the philosophy of Newtonian gravitation, there has been much discussion of whether the theory’s “spacetime geometry” is best conceived of as Newton-Cartan geometry, on the one hand, or Maxwellian geometry, on the other hand. Roughly speaking, there have been two approaches to understanding this question: one starts from the idea of “relations between observers”, and the other begins from the standard differential geometric architecture of Newton-Cartan theory and the Trautman Recovery Theorem. In this talk, I will explain how the two approaches can be reconciled, thereby yielding “emergent Newtonian gravitation” as a gauge-fixing of Newton-Cartan theory. In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 4/5 4

Talk this week!

• Wednesday 24 May 2017 at Geneva – Samuel Fletcher (Minnesota): Reduction, emergence, and direct limits

Abstract: Most discussions of spacetime emergence and the “physical salience” of the structures employed in theories of quantum gravity have understood these terms informally. Applying some new formal definitions based on “similarity structure” on models of theories, I show how to make more precise the sense in which a physical continuum of events could be emergent, and to connect the discussion of physical salience with a precise definition of intertheoretic reduction. As a test example, I consider claims about the emergence of the continuum of relativistic spacetime from direct limits of causal set histories, showing how their justification, though presently incomplete, could be completed. Time permitting, I will comment on the relation between this approach and causal set theory’s hauptvermutung. In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 4/5 4

See above links for details.

Upcoming Talks: Ruetsche and Miller

We have two talks at UIC next week:

Wednesday 3 May 2017 11am – Laura Ruetsche (Michigan): Renormalization Group Realism: An Unduly Skeptical Review

Thursday 4 May 2017 at UIC 9am – Michael Miller (Pittsburgh): Three obstacles to the interpretation of quantum field theory

Abstracts are available above – as are details of the locations. We will livestream to Geneva, and hopefully to YouTube. Please join us!