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Anthropic arguments in quantum cosmology
Simon Saunders is a philosopher of physics. His 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.
Professor of Philosophy of Physics, 2008- University of Oxford
Reader in Philosophy of Physics, 2001-8 University of Oxford
Lecturer in Philosophy of Science, 1996-2001 University of Oxford
Fellow of Linacre College, 1996-
1995-96: Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University.
1990-95: Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University.
Spring 2005 Short Term Visitor, Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics
Spring 2005, Green College Lecturer, University of British Columbia
Autumn 2004, Visiting Fellow, Ecole Polytechnique
Autumn 2001, Visiting Professor, Harvard University
Autumn 1998, Visiting Professor, Harvard University.
AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS
2007-2008: FQX(i) award, „Everett@50‟.
2005: AHRB Research Fellowship
2002-2003, Leverhulme Research Fellow, University of Oxford.
1989-1990, Research Fellow, Sidney Edelstein Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
1988-89, Senior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford.
1988-89, Fellowship, "Thank Offering to Britain", British Academy.
1985-89, Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford.
PhD, Mathematical and Philosophical Foundations of Quantum Field Theory, 1989, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Kings College, London (supervised by Professor Michael Redhead).
Part 3, Mathematics Tripos, Christ's College, Cambridge, 1977.
BA, New College, Oxford, Physics and Philosophy, 1976.
2008 Many Worlds?: Everett, quantum theory, and realism, S. Saunders, J. Barrett, A. Kent, and D. Wallace (eds), Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
The Philosophy of Vacuum, S. Saunders and H. Brown (eds.),Clarendon Press, Oxford 1991.