An episodic introduction to philosophy of physics, which will strive to be interesting and accessible even to those not already invested in physics.
Interesting: I will try to focus on topics in philosophy of physics that resonate with issues philosophers who aren't interested in physics might care about — issues like causation, determinism, reference, and scientific realism.
Accessible: I will try to minimize the technical apparatus required to approach these topics, and to equip students with that apparatus as the need for it arises.
Topics to be covered may include:
- quantum non-locality and the quantum measurement problem;
- determinism and time travel in special and general relativity;
- statistical physics and the direction of time;
- explanation in cosmology; and
- the semantic implications of theory change.
Registered students will have the option of completing the course either by writing a series of short papers or by writing one substantial paper.