Charles "Chip" T. Sebens

Ahmanson Postdoctoral Instructor in the History and Philosophy of Physics
California Institute of Technology


Philosophical Issues in Quantum Physics, Caltech, Spring 2016 [syllabus]

Knowledge and Reality, Caltech, Spring 2016 [syllabus]

Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics (focusing on electromagnetism), Caltech, Fall 2015 [syllabus]

Science Fiction and Philosophy, University of Michigan, Fall 2013 [syllabus]

Reading Group

I founded a reading group on the philosophy of physics at the University of Michigan. We recently hosted a workshop on the foundations of statistical mechanics.


Quantum Mechanics, Three Ways (2014), poster presented to undergraduate physics students
I study the philosophy of physics, focusing on the foundations of quantum theory. I'm curious about whether our best ways of understanding non-relativistic quantum mechanics (such as Bohmian mechanics, Everettian quantum mechanics, and GRW theory) can be extended to quantum field theory. In addition, I'd like to better understand how probability arises in various interpretations of quantum mechanics. Particularly, I am interested in the ways in which self-locating uncertainty arises in quantum mechanics and how we ought to respond to it. I also have research interests in formal epistemology and metaphysics.

I am currently a postdoctoral instructor at the California Institute of Technology.  In 2016 I will join the department of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego as an assistant professor.  As a student I studied physics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Oxford, and the University of Michigan.

This poster situates my recent research questions in the broader project of figuring out how to best formulate quantum mechanics. For an accessible introduction to the debate, check out this video.


Self-Locating Uncertainty and the Origin of Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics (forthcoming), with Sean Carroll,
in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
[abstract] [draft] [blog I, II, III]

Many Worlds, the Born Rule, and Self-Locating Uncertainty (2014),
with Sean Carroll, in Quantum Theory: A Two-Time Success Story, Yakir Aharonov Festschrift  [abstract] [arXiv (updated version)]

In Progress

A Laws-First Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
  [abstract] [draft]