Sean Carroll at NY Philosophy of Science Group

This Friday, October 25, Sean Carroll of Caltech will be visiting the New York Philosophy of Science Group.  He'll be discussing cosmology in very large universes from 4-6 PM (abstract below).  The talk will take place in the NYU philosophy building, 5 Washington Place, 1st floor.  For a full schedule of New York area Philosophy of Physics Group discussions, see (these events are also on our calendar page). 

Thursday, October 24,  Dr. Carroll will give a colloquium for the NYU physics department at 4PM in Meyer room 122.

Wednesday, October 23, Dr. Carroll will visit Barry Loewer's class at Rutgers.  For more information, or if you would like to attend for Dr. Carroll's visit, contact Barry Loewer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Next week, David Wallace will give a colloquium at the Rutgers Philosophy Department on Thursday, October 31.  The talk will take place at 106 Somerset St, 5th floor, at 4:30. Dr. Wallace will then visit the New York Philosophy of Science Group on Friday, November 1, at 4PM.

Abstract: "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.