Philosophy of Physics Seminar (Thursday - Week 8, TT23)

Philosophy of Physics

It is sometimes claimed that information-theoretic reconstructions of quantum theory provide interpretational insight. I’ll argue that such claims misrepresent the contribution of reconstructions: we should not expect to gain knowledge of the inner workings of quantum theory by locating its boundaries in the context of more general theories, nor to learn what quantum theory is about, since the features and principles privileged through reconstruction are, at least to some extent, dependent on what one chooses to focus on. Despite this though, I maintain that information-theoretic reconstructions genuinely can play an epistemic role. By adopting a pragmatic, pluralist account of explanation inspired by Van Fraassen and proposing an extension to an account of understanding, I'll argue that reconstructions can be seen to provide both explanation and understanding through providing answers, distinct from those about interpretation, to the question “why quantum theory” in the salient contexts.

With speaker’s consent, talks will be recorded and published on YouTube. Our channel is:

If you wish to join the dinner proceeding the talk, please email Henrique:

Philosophy of Physics Seminar Convenors for HT23: Oliver Pooley, Patrick Duerr and Henrique de Andrade Gomes  | Philosophy of Physics Group Website