Matthew Stanley: The Uniformity of Natural Laws: A Historical Perspective from Victorian Britain

Our next speaker will be Matthew Stanley on Feb 28th at NYU. Hope to see you there. 

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Place: NYU Philosophy Department Auditorium (Room 101), 5 Washington Place, NYC.

Time: 5:00 – 7:00 PM Tuesday February 28.

Speaker: Matthew Stanley. (Author of Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon: from Theistic Science to Naturalistic ScienceUniversity of Chicago Press)

Title: “The Uniformity of Natural Laws: A Historical Perspective from Victorian Britain”

Abstract: The concept of the uniformity of nature – the claim that the laws of nature are unbroken over time and space – is an important part of the modern scientific worldview.  This is usually seen as supporting a scientific naturalism in which there is no room for divine forces or a spiritual realm.  The association of uniformity with strict naturalism comes from the Victorian era, but a close historical examination of scientists from that period shows that the uniformity of nature was an important part of both theistic and naturalistic worldviews.  The importance of uniformity in different religious contexts can help us understand the origin, transformation, and modern interpretation of the concept of natural laws.

There will be a dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please send an email with “Dinner” in the heading to nyphilsci@gmail.com (please note that all are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered). If you have any other questions, please email eddy.chen@rutgers.edu

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More Upcoming MAPS Talks: 

Jesse Prinz (CUNY).

4:30-6:30 PM Tuesday April 18 at CUNY Grad Center Room 5307. 

 

Alyssa Ney (UC Davis).

“Wave Function Realism in a Relativistic Setting”

4:30-6:30 PM Tuesday May 2 at Columbia. 

 

Another upcoming talk in philosophy of science:

Elise Crull (CUNY)

Title: Existence Monism from Quantum Theory

CUNY Grad Center Philosophy Colloquium

4:15pm Wednesday March 15, Grad Center Rooms 9204/9205. 

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MAPS: First Talk Spring Semester by Massimo Pigliucci (CUNY)

Dear All,

Happy New Year! This year in the Metro Area Philosophy of Science Group (MAPS), we hope to continue hosting informative talks on many cutting-edge topics in philosophy of science. 

Our first speaker of the semester will be Massimo Pigliucci, K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at CUNY-City College & Graduate Center. 

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Title: Do we need a new evolutionary synthesis? 

Speaker: Massimo Pigliucci (CUNY) 

4:30 – 6:30 PM, Tuesday January 31, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307 (Address: 365 Fifth Ave).

Abstract: The theory of evolution has evolved, so to speak, a number of times since Darwin and Wallace proposed the original version back in 1858. In this talk, I will explore some of those changes and focus on current proposals to develop a new version of the theory, known as the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. I will also try to address the question of whether these new developments amount to an example of what philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn called a “paradigm shift” within the biological sciences.

Reception to follow the talk, please join us! There will also be dinner after the reception. If you are interested, please send an email with “Dinner” in the heading to nyphilsci@gmail.com (please note that all are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered). If you have any other questions, please email eddy.chen@rutgers.edu

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More Upcoming MAPS Talks: 

(1) 4:30-6:30 PM Tuesday February 28 at NYU.

Matt Stanley. (Author of Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon: from Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science, University of Chicago Press); 

“The Uniformity of Natural Laws: A Historical Perspective from Victorian Britain”

(2) Jesse Prinz (CUNY). Title TBA. Time TBA. 

(3) Alyssa Ney (UC Davis). Title TBA. 4:30-6:30 PM Tuesday May 2 at Columbia. 

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MAPS Mini-Workshop in Philosophy of Physics

December 9, Friday 2:30–6:30pm, 5 Washington Place, Room 101 (NYU Philosophy Dept Auditorium). (The security staff may need to see your university/personal ID.)

Mini-Workshop in Philosophy of Physics

2:30–4:15. Jonathan Bain (NYU): What Explains the Spin-Statistics Connection?

Abstract: The spin–statistics connection plays an essential role in explanations of non-relativistic phenomena associated with both field-theoretic and non-field-theoretic systems (for instance, it explains the electronic structure of solids and the behavior of Einstein-Bose condensates and superconductors). However, it is only derivable within the context of relativistic quantum field theory (RQFT) in the form of the Spin-Statistics Theorem; and moreover, there are multiple, mutually incompatible ways of deriving it. This essay attempts to determine the sense in which the spin-statistics connection can be said to be an essential property in RQFT, and how it is that an essential property of one type of theory can figure into fundamental explanations offered by other, inherently distinct theories.

4:15–4:45. Coffee break. 

4:45–6:30. Elizabeth Miller (Yale): All Flash, No Substance?

Abstract: Primitivists agree modifying the dynamics of textbook quantum mechanics is not enough: to make adequate contact with the empirical data, our fundamental theory also needs a primitive ontology. But there remains room for disagreement as to what exactly adequacy demands of that ontology. Some of that disagreement shows up in competition between two proposed primitive ontologies for the GRW dynamics. Maudlin claims one candidate, GRWm, fails to make adequate contact with our data, falling short of conditions for empirical adequacy met by rival GRWf. Albert agrees GRWm falls short of Maudlin’s conditions but takes issue with the conditions instead. I join Albert in questioning GRWm’s alleged inadequacy, but I do so for a different reason: GRWm and GRWf are on a par with respect to Maudlin’s conditions. That is, if GRWf qualifies as empirically adequate by Maudlin’s lights, then, by those lights, GRWm should as well. Even so, the internecine dispute raises some more general questions about the demands of empirical adequacy. 

 All are welcome! 

There will be a dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please send an email with “Dinner” in the heading to nyphilsci@gmail.com (please note that all are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered). If you have any other questions, please email eddy.chen@rutgers.edu

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The Subject as Cause and Effect of Evolution

The Subject as Cause and Effect of Evolution 

Speaker: Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY)

4:00 — 6:00 pm, Friday Dec 2, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307 (Address: 365 Fifth Ave).

Abstract: Organisms physically transform their environments in ways that affect their downstream evolution. The importance of this fact has been a topic in recent debates in and around evolutionary biology. I’ll discuss this theme in a general way and then extend it. A subset of “niche construction” phenomena work by way of the perceptual, cognitive, and agential properties of organisms. These cases have distinctive features seen on several scales. I’ll look at these in relation to both the large-scale history of life and attempts to give a materialist account of the place of mind in nature.

Update: There will be no dinner after this event; but there will be a reception in the room right after the talk. All are welcome. 


Upcoming Event:

December 9, Friday 2:30–6:30pm, 5 Washington Place, Room 101.

*Mini-Workshop in Philosophy of Physics*

(1) What Explains the Spin-Statistics Connection?

Speaker: Jonathan Bain (NYU)

(2) All Flash, No Substance?

Speaker: Elizabeth Miller (Yale)

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Some aspects of the quantum mechanical measurement problem in gravitational contexts.

Speaker: Daniel Sudarsky (ICN-UNAM)

5:00 — 7:00 pm, Thursday October 27th, NYU Silver Center Room 620 (address: 31 Washington Place, NYC)

Abstract: I will discuss  some of  the  extra difficulties one needs to face when addressing the measurement problem  (MP)  in gravitational contexts. We will see that complications appear   both at the  conceptual  as well as the more  technical levels . We will see however that  there are  great potential benefits in adopting certain approaches towards the MP , which  surprisingly   result on the   plausible resolution of   some  old  and some new  problems  facing the physics of gravitation. The  main focus will be on the so called   dynamical  collapse theories but I will also touch on various issues as seen from the perspective of other approaches.

There will be a dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please send an email with “Dinner” in the heading to nyphilsci@gmail.com as soon as possible so that I can make the reservation for the appropriate number of people (please note that all faculty and grad students are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered). If you have any other questions, please email eddy.chen@rutgers.edu

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2016 Fall Schedule

We have scheduled three talks for the fall semester. More details are coming soon. Here are the dates (revised due to scheduling conflicts):

December 2, Friday 4:00–6:00pm, CUNY Graduate Center, Room TBA, 365 5th Avenue.

Speaker: Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY Graduate Center)

Title: The Subject as Cause and Effect of Evolution 

December 9, Friday 2:30–6:30pm, 5 Washington Place, Room 101. 

Mini-Workshop on Philosophy of Science

(1) Speaker: Jonathan Bain (NYU)

Title: What Explains the Spin-Statistics Connection?

(2) Speaker: Elizabeth Miller (Yale)

Title: TBA.

For more questions, please contact eddy.chen@rutgers.edu

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Rutgers Mini-Conference on Multiverse, Theodicy, and Fine-Tuning

Metro Area Philosophers of Science,

 

I’m writing on behalf of Dean Zimmerman to invite you to a two-day pre-read workshop (June 10-11, 2016) at Rutgers University on the intersection of philosophy of physics and philosophy of religion. Our two topics are: (1) Everettian Multiverse and the problem of evil; (2) the use of probability in the fine-tuning arguments for design. Please see below for the abstracts.

Our main speakers and commentators include:

Jason Turner (Arizona)
Hans Halvorson (Princeton)
Christopher Weaver (UIUC)
Robin Collins (Messiah)
Barry Loewer (Rutgers)
Cian Dorr (NYU)
Valia Allori (NIU)
Timothy O’Connor (Indiana-Bloomington)
David Albert (Columbia)

 

Organizers:

Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers)
Eddy Keming Chen (Rutgers)

Thanks to the generosity of the Rutgers Center for the Philosophy of Religion and the Templeton Foundation, the Rutgers Philosophy Department will be hosting the workshop on Friday-Saturday, June 10-11, at the 5th Floor Seminar Room, 106 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ. The program is forthcoming. Please feel free to forward the message to interested students and colleagues.

 

Due to limited space in the seminar room, if you’d like to attend the conference, please RSVP by June 1. You will receive the pre-read papers by Jason Turner and by Hans Halvorson. Please send an email titled “RSVP Multiverse” to my email address at: eddy.chen@rutgers.edu

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Title: Everettian Quantum Mechanics and Evil
Author: Jason Turner

Abstract: The problem of evil has been around for a long time: How can an all-powerful and all-good God allow evil of the sorts we see in the world? If the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, though, then there is a lot more evil in the world than what we see. This suggest a second problem of evil: If Everettianism is true, how can an all-powerful and all-good God allow evil of the sort we don’t see? If the original problem of evil already pushed you into atheism, worries about Everettianism aren’t likely to make much difference. On the other hand, even if you have reconciled the evils we know about with theism to your satisfaction, you may be troubled by the extra Everettian evils. These evils, I will argue, pose an extra challenge for theism. I do not say the challenge cannot be met; some extant responses to the old problem of evil, if successful, may work against the new problem, too. But some won’t. As a result, the challenge is strictly harder: every solution to it is also a solution to the old problem of evil, but not every solution to the old problem of evil is a solution to it.

Title: A Probability Problem in the Fine-Tuning Argument
Author: Hans Halvorson
Abstract: According to the fine-tuning argument: (i) the probability of a life-permitting universe, conditional on the non-existence of God, is low; and (ii) the probability of a life-permitting universe, conditional on the existence of God, is high. I demonstrate that these two claims cannot be simultaneously justified. In particular, if there are good reasons for a non-theist to think that the probability of a life-permitting universe is low, then these are also good reasons for a theist.
Conference Schedule
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