Simon Saunders

Simon Saunders
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dates de séjour

01/09/2010 - 31/12/2010



Fonction d’origine

Professeur de philosophie de la physique

Institution d’origine

Université d'Oxford (Royaume-Uni)

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

Anthropic arguments in quantum cosmology

Simon Saunders's research has centred on the foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, but includes topics in classical and general relativistic spacetime theories and statistical mechanics. He is a defender of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory. In recent work he has developed a form of structuralism organized around the notion of object as it arises in formal logic, and specifically the concept of weak discernibility. His project in residence is an extension of this: it concerns indefinite reference as it functions in ordinary language and in physics, both in relation to ontological commitment (manifold points, spacetime points, elementary particles) and probability. The most notable questions in the latter context involve self-location, among branches of the wave-function (in many worlds theory), and among regions of the cosmos (particularly, but not only, in inflationary cosmology). The anthropic principle, construed as a principle governing selection effects, is relevant to both, and is of topical importance to several uses of probability in contemporary cosmology.


Simon Saunders is Professor of Philosophy of Science at Merton College in Oxford University. He previously held the following positions in the UK and in the US: Reader in Philosophy of Physics, University of Oxford 2001-2008; Lecturer in Philosophy of Science, University of Oxford 1996-2001; Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford 1996-2013; Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University 1995-96; Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University 1990-95. He obtained a PhD in Mathematical and Philosophical Foundations of Quantum Field Theory from Kings College, London (1989). His current research is on the identification of objects, relative to a physical theory, by the definition of predicates in terms of values of quantities invariant under the symmetries of that theory. His undergraduate and graduate lecture courses and tutorials focus on philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, and on 17th and 18th century metaphysics and philosophy of space and time.