[SydPhil] Reminder: Foundations of Physics: Maria Kon on Timelessness in Quantum Gravity, May 16

Matthew Farr matt.farr at sydney.edu.au
Wed May 15 11:48:50 AEST 2013

The next Sydney Foundations of Physics seminar will be held on Thursday 16th May.

Speaker: Maria Kon (HPS, Sydney)
Title: Two Routes to a 'Timeless' Barbourian Quantum Gravity.

Abstract: The problem of time in canonical quantum gravity arises because the application of quantization procedures to the Hamiltonian formulation of general relativity results in an equation with no explicit time parameter.  Thus, it appears that the resulting equation cannot describe the evolution of a system.  Julian Barbour attempts to resolve this problem by proposing a ‘timeless’ theory in which time plays no fundamental role.  I argue that his quantum gravity is neither entirely timeless nor completely coherent: given his explicit ontological and metaphysical commitments, two major clashes arise among the temporal features of his quantum gravity, general relativity, quantum mechanics and account of our temporal experience.  First, there is a clash between his general relativity, in which one can recover ordered stacks of relative configuration space points, and his quantum mechanics, in which it doesn’t seem that such stacks can be recovered. Second, there is a clash between his quantum gravity, in which there is an unordered ‘heap’ of relative configuration space points, and our apparently extended temporal experience.  I identify two means of modifying his account such that these clashes are resolved.  Nevertheless, I show that both of these options are not without deep problems.

Time: Thursday 16th May, 11:30-13:00
Location: Philosophy Common Room, Main Quad - A14, University of Sydney.

A list of future SydFoP seminars is available here: http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/events/

If you'd like to give a seminar, or know of any future visitors who would like to give a seminar, please contact me at matt.farr at sydney.edu.au<mailto:matt.farr at sydney.edu.au>.

Details for how to subscribe to the SydFoP mailing list are here: http://lists.arts.usyd.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/sydfop

All the best
DR MATT FARR | Postdoctoral Research Fellow
New Agendas for the Study of Time<http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/> | Centre for Time
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Room N494 | Quadrangle A14
University of Sydney | NSW | 2006

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