The Foundations of Modern Physics (FOMP) group provides a forum for physicists, philosophers, and mathematicians to come together and discuss conceptual and logical questions about the foundations of modern physical theories. The group primarily focuses on the branch of philosophy called “philosophy of physics” and the related branch of physics known as “foundations of physics.” We meet bi-weekly to discuss articles chosen by the participants. Both graduate students and faculty are encouraged to participate. We are funded by the graduate school as a Rackham interdisciplinary workshop.
When: Check the readings page for the date/time of the next meeting.
Format: Participants will be expected to have read through 1-2 articles and we will discuss and critique the arguments presented. There will generally not be any presentations given (if you are interested in hearing presentations on these subjects or giving one, contact Gordon Belot about the Philosophy of Science Working Group, belot(at)umich.edu).
What is the Philosophy of Physics? Philosophers of physics focus on a loosely connected set of questions about physics generally and specific physical theories. Some examples: Is there a more fundamental theory which explains why quantum measurements seem to collapse the wave function? Some ideas here. In what way can the time-asymmetric laws of thermodynamics be derived (via statistical mechanics) from the time-symmetric laws of classical mechanics? Do objects have absolute positions or are they just related to each other by distances? Is the goal of science merely to produce models that make accurate predictions or are we able to determine how nature really works? What is the right way to use experimental data to test multiverse theories? Is quantum field theory a theory of particles or fields (or both)?
Please email Charles Sebens, csebens(at)gmail.com, if you would like to be added to the mailing list for the group.