Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SHPMP special issue

CALL for ABSTRACTS (Special Issue)
STUDIES IN THE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF MODERN PHYSICS
The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity

GUEST EDITORS
Nick Huggett (University of Illinois, Chicago)
Christian W├╝thrich (University of California, San Diego)

While different approaches to quantum gravity are often based on rather different physical principles, many of them share an important suggestion: that spacetime as we find it in classical general relativity is not a fundamental ingredient of the world, but instead "emerges" from some deeper, non-spatiotemporal physics. Philosophers of physics have been slow to analyze this radical suggestion and to consider its implication for the empirical coherence of a fundamental theory.

This special issue aims to collect essays investigating senses in which spacetime might be absent from fundamental theories, how it remerges at a phenomenological level, and the various philosophical consequences of the non-fundamentality of spacetime. For example: in what sense spacetime does "emerge" in AdS-CFT theory? Or in causal set theory? Metaphysical views of laws and causation, say, often assume spacetime - are these metaphysical concepts then non-fundamental? How can a theory that has no "local beables" be tested?

The editors will give preference to focussed pieces, such as studies of particular cases or aspects of the emergence of spacetime, over surveys or general investigations. Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted by email to huggett@uic.edu and wuthrich@ucsd.edu with subject "SHPMP Special Issue". Please give an estimated word count for the article: in the first place pieces of any length up to 7500 words are sought (though longer essays will be considered).

The deadline for submission is 1 April 2011. Decisions about which abstracts will be selected will be announced by the end of April. Authors of selected abstracts will then be invited to submit a full manuscript by 1 September 2011.The special issue is planned for early 2012.

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