This course has two parts. We'll begin with a couple weeks of discussion concerning the relationship between metaphysics and the philosophy of science. There has been a lot of friction in recent years between mainstream analytic metaphysics and the philosophy of physics, in particular, over methodology and epistemology. This is quite different from earlier positivist critiques of metaphysics, in that present-day critics agree that metaphysics is a legitimate discipline but disagree with the methods commonly used by metaphysicians.
We will then move on to a more detailed case study: the Everett or many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. This interpretation has gained popularity among both philosophers and physicists, and has many interesting points of overlap with general topics such as personal identity, self-locating uncertainty and decision theory. We will take a close look at these aspects of the interpretation, using David Wallace's recent book The Emergent Multiverse as a reference.
must have graduate standing
seminar meeting 2.5 hrs per week