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Metaphysics of quantum field theoretic structures in dynamical spacetime

English title Metaphysics of quantum field theoretic structures in dynamical spacetime
Applicant Lam Vincent
Number 142536
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Section de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.06.2013 - 31.05.2016
Approved amount 411'030.00
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Keywords (13)

Analytical metaphysics of science; General theory of relativity; Quantum field theory; Canonical quantum gravity; Quantum non-locality; Quantum entanglement; Background independence; Quantum fields; Spacetime; Gravitational field; Ontic structural realism; Structure; Causation

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
La nature des entités fondamentales dans le monde physique ainsi que le rapport entre la matière d’un côté et l’espace et le temps de l’autre constituent des questions parmi les plus centrales en philosophie analytique de la nature. Dans la perspective d’un réalisme scientifique, la théorie quantique et la théorie de la relativité générale constituent les meilleurs guides au sujet de ces questions.
Lay summary

En raison du manque d’un cadre unifié, la théorie des champs quantiques et la théorie de la relativité générale sont la plupart du temps considérées et interprétées indépendamment l’une de l’autre. Une telle stratégie interprétative ne peut fournir une conception métaphysique cohérente avec les traits fondamentaux de ces descriptions physiques actuelles de la matière, de l’espace et du temps.

Contenu et objectif du travail de recherche

 

 

L’objectif principal de ce projet est d’établir une conception cohérente des entités physiques fondamentales et de leur rapport à l’espace et au temps, prenant en compte la nature quantique des entités matérielles fondamentales telle que décrite par la théorie des champs quantiques ainsi que la nature dynamique de la structure spatio-temporelle et gravitationnelle telle que décrite par la théorie de la relativité générale. Sur la base de ces traits physiques fondamentaux – en particulier la non-localité quantique et la nature dynamique de l’espace-temps – ce projet étudie et développe une conception relationnelle des entités physiques fondamentales dans le cadre du réalisme structural ontologique.

 

 

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

 

 

Ce projet s’inscrit dans le récent renouveau de la métaphysique analytique des sciences. Il participe à une démarche philosophique globale visant à une meilleure compréhension de la nature telle que décrite par les sciences.    

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.05.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Amit Hagar. Discrete or Continuous? The Quest for Fundamental Length in Modern Physics
Lam Vincent (2015), Amit Hagar. Discrete or Continuous? The Quest for Fundamental Length in Modern Physics, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 1.
No categorial support for radical ontic structural realism
Lam Vincent, Wüthrich Christian (2015), No categorial support for radical ontic structural realism, in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 66, 605-634.
Primitive ontology and quantum field theory
Lam Vincent (2015), Primitive ontology and quantum field theory, in European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 5, 387-397.
Quantum structure and spacetime
Lam Vincent (2015), Quantum structure and spacetime, in Bigaj Tomasz (ed.), Rodopi, New York, 209-228.
Entities without intrinsic physical identity
Lam Vincent (2014), Entities without intrinsic physical identity, in Erkenntnis, 79, 1157-1171.
Protective measurements and the status of the wave function within the primitive ontology approach
Lam Vincent (2014), Protective measurements and the status of the wave function within the primitive ontology approach, in Gao Shan (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 195-210.
The entanglement structure of quantum field systems
Lam Vincent (2013), The entanglement structure of quantum field systems, in International Studies in the Philosophy of Science , 27, 59-72.
The Physics and Metaphysics of Primitive Stuff
Esfeld Michael, Lazarovici Dustin, Lam Vincent, Hubert Mario, The Physics and Metaphysics of Primitive Stuff, in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 1.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Associate Prof. Christian Wüthrich, University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Gerard Milburn, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Max Kistler, IHPST, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Michael Esfeld, Section de Philosophie, Université de Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Phil Dowe, School of Philosophy, Australian National University Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr Daniele Oriti, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Golm Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Fourth International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime Talk given at a conference Spacetime is as spacetime does 30.05.2016 Varna, Bulgaria Lam Vincent;
Swiss Graduate Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science Talk given at a conference Causality and dynamical spacetime 28.04.2016 University of Geneva, Switzerland Lam Vincent;
Beyond Spacetime Seminar Individual talk Functional emergence of spacetime in quantum gravity 07.10.2015 Université de Genève, Switzerland Lam Vincent;
The Fifth Conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association Talk given at a conference Functional emergence of spacetime in quantum gravity 23.09.2015 Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany Lam Vincent;
Assises du CEPERC Talk given at a conference Physique et métaphysique 08.06.2015 Aix-Marseille Université & CNRS, Aix-en-Provence, France Lam Vincent;
Metascience Seminar Individual talk Continuity between science and philosophy of science 13.03.2015 Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (IHPST), Université Paris 1 – P, France Lam Vincent;
Emergent Time and Emergent Space in Quantum Gravity Talk given at a conference From the wave function to quantum gravity 15.12.2014 Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Golm, Germany Lam Vincent;
Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association Talk given at a conference In search of a primitive ontology for quantum field theory 06.11.2014 Chicago, United States of America Lam Vincent;
The Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics Talk given at a conference A primitive structuralist ontology for quantum mechanics : the wave fucntion as a physical structure in spacetime 02.10.2014 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Lam Vincent;
Ve Congrès de la Société de Philosophie des Sciences Talk given at a conference A la recherche d’une ontologie primitive pour la théorie quantique des champs 25.06.2014 Universités de Lille 1 et Lille 3, France Lam Vincent;
Triennial Conference of the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science Talk given at a conference Contextual physical identity 18.06.2014 University of Roma Tre, Italy Lam Vincent;
CROSS Workshop Talk given at a conference Primitive ontology and unitary inequivalence 01.05.2014 Université de Lausanne & Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland Lam Vincent;
Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft Spring Meeting Talk given at a conference In search of a primitive ontology for quantum field theory 17.03.2014 Humoldt University, Berlin, Germany Lam Vincent;
The 17th UK and European Meeting on the Foundations of Physics Talk given at a conference The status of mass and energy in general relativity 29.07.2013 Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany Lam Vincent;


Awards

Title Year
Honorary Research Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland, Australia 2015

Abstract

The aim of this research project is to investigate the basic question of what the fundamental physical entities in the world are from the global point of view of both the quantum nature of fundamental physical objects and the dynamical nature of spacetime. Concretely, it aims to develop a coherent understanding of what the fundamental entities are according to quantum field theory - our current most fundamental theory about matter - taking into account the fundamental features of the general theory of relativity - our current most fundamental physical theory about spacetime and gravitation. This research project proposes to apply to quantum field theory the interpretative framework of ontic structural realism, which is a recently much discussed conception in the metaphysics of science. Part of the research strategy focuses on the structuralist understanding of quantum superposition and entanglement in the context of quantum field theory and canonical quantum gravity. One of the major aims is to evaluate to what extent and in what sense quantum entanglement structures can be considered as more fundamental than spacetime.
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