Advanced Philosophy of Physics - Material for the year 2020-2021

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External Lecturer(s): 
Dr Owen Maroney, Dr James Read and Prof Simon Saunders
Course Term: 
Course Weight: 
1.50 unit(s)

Assessment type:

Course Overview: 

The course is taught through a combination of seminars and tutorials.

Course Synopsis: 

This series of classes will cover contemporary topics in the philosophy of physics, with emphasis on: thermal physics (thermodynamics and statistical mechanics), the role of symmetries in physical theories, spacetime (especially the general theory of relativity), and advanced topics in the philosophy of quantum theory (including the role of decoherence in solving the measurement problem, the interpretation of probability, and topics in quantum field theory). The primary intended audience is MSt students in Philosophy of Physics, fourth year Physics & Philosophy undergraduates studying the Advanced Philosophy of Physics paper, and MMathPhys and MSc students in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics. Others, especially BPhil students with an interest in the philosophy of physics, are also welcome.

Those MMathPhys and MSc students taking the course in the mini-project or homework mode also receive 8 hours of tutorials (usually as one of a pair) from one of the external lecturers. These tutorials are usually spread throughout the year, with the first 4 in Michaelmas Term. Students are expected to produce an essay of between 2,000-2,500 words for each tutorial. For those taking the course in mini-project mode, two of these tutorials will be given over to discussing drafts of the two 5,000-word essays submitted by each candidate for assessment in week 4 of Trinity Term. Those students requiring tutorials are encouraged to contact Adam Caulton ( as soon as possible at the beginning of Michaelmas Term.