Advanced Topics: Philosophy of Physics at Rutgers

Barry Loewer and David Albert are co-teaching a seminar on Fridays this term at Rutgers (scheduled for 1 to 4 PM, beginning on January 25) on a variety of open and outstanding questions in the foundations of physics.  We intend to pay particular attention the foundations of statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, the direction of time, the relationship between quantum-mechanical non-locality and special relativity, the metaphysics of the wave-function, the possibility that space and time are emergent from something more fundamental, the architecture of a fundamental theory of everything, and various questions in the foundations of cosmology.  The skeletal structure of the course will follow a collection of essays that the two of us have written on these topics over the past several years - but we anticipate that it will quickly and substantially branch out from there, in ways that will depend on the interests and backgrounds of those attending the course.  A good way to prepare would be to have a look at two earlier books of Albert's "Time and Chance", and "Quantum Mechanics and Experience".