2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
PHIL3852 Philosophy of Modern Physics
20 creditsClass Size: 60
Module manager: Dr Callum Duguid
Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable
Year running 2021/22
Pre-requisite qualificationsEITHER: 20 credits of level 2 Physics (or equiv) OR: A level Physics (or equiv) together with 20 credits of level 2 Philosophy from one of the following streams: Logic & Language, Mind & Knowledge and Science, or Metaphysical Philosophy. Students who don't have A-level physics (or equivalent) may be allowed to enrol after discussion with the module leader.
This module is not approved as a discovery module
Module summaryWhat is the nature of reality as described by modern physics? This is the central question considered in this module as we examine a selection of philosophical issues at the heart of some of the central pillars of modern physics (quantum theory, space-time physics, statistical physics). They exact focus can vary from year to year, but here are possible questions to consider: Does the world consist only of physical objects standing in certain spatial and temporal relations to one another, or do space and time also exist as entities themselves? Are space and time doomed to fade away into mere shadows according to relativity theory? If so, what is spacetime? Can the metaphysics of everyday and classical objects be their quantum counterparts? Can quantum objects be said to possess properties independent of sentient observers? In what sense does quantum mechanics involve 'spooky action at a distance'? How can we reconcile quantum indeterminacy and holism with the determinate and particular features of the world we observe? Is there an 'arrow of time' to be found in the fundamental physics?
ObjectivesTo provide a critical understanding of the development of 20th century physics and its leading philosophical problems.
This module will examine philosophical issues connected with modern physics (e.g. quantum mechanics, special and general relativity), such as determinism, causality and the nature of space and time.
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||179.00|
|Total Contact hours||21.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackStudents will have the opportunity to submit a 1,000 word essay plan for feedback.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Essay||3000 words (end of module)||100.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||100.00|
Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 30/06/2021 14:25:34
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