Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Quantum Physics Meets the Philosophy of Mind


June 4 – June 6, 2013

The conference will take place at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart,
Milan, Italy

In cooperation with the University of Augsburg, Germany

Sponsored by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation

The topic of the conference
Quantum physics is the presently accepted foundational discipline of physics. Its degree of confirmation surpasses by far the degree of confirmation that Newtonian mechanics had when it was, once upon a time, the foundational discipline of physics. Many philosophers, however, when talking about physics, are still referring to physics according to the paradigm of Newtonian mechanics. Although it is well known that Newtonian mechanics is considered refuted – and even without drawing into consideration the theory of relativity –, the quantum-theoretical innovations in physics are ignored by many, indeed most philosophers, or if not ignored, then at least considered irrelevant for philosophical questions. In this situation, the conference Quantum Physics Meets the Philosophy of Mind is intended to contribute to creating a counterpoise to reductionism, eliminativism, and fictionalism, each of these three isms being separately taken by many to be a rationally unavoidable consequence of physics for the philosophy of mind. In contrast to the old physics, quantum physics is not only empirically correct, but also promises, in its indeterminism and holism, to have more to oppose to reductionism, eliminativism and fictionalism than the arguments of traditional psycho-physical dualism could offer. Quantum physics is, after all, not a physics for which physicalism (formerly: materialism) is – automatically, so to speak – the fitting metaphysical superstructure.